For 25 years, Dana Winklepleck has been an integral part of the WTWO/WAWV family, and to think, it all started with a summer internship.
In 1994, Winklepleck was attending Indiana University when she took a summer internship with WTWO. At the end of that internship, the news director offered her a job.
“And it was a tedious job, a behind-the-scenes job, a very unglamorous job,” she recalled. “But, I was so happy to have it because that meant I was in the news business.”
Winklepleck started her career sitting in a room by herself on the weekends listening to police scanners. When she heard something interesting, she would use a CB radio to direct the crews out in the field on where to go.
“So, when I say I started at the bottom level,” she said, “I started at the bottom level.”
But, she didn’t mind. Winklepleck just loved being a journalist.
She has some advice for young people who are thinking about their future:
“Think about what you want to do with your life, maybe where you want to work, and then just get your foot in the door,” she said. “And then work really hard at whatever job they give you. So even if it’s not your dream job, don’t worry about it, because if you work hard at that job, then a better job will come along.”
It’s hard to believe, but Winklepleck’s career actually could have gone in a very different direction.
Her first major was economics, and she even has a degree in the subject. But, once she earned her degree, she wasn’t sure what to do with it. Being the curious person she was, she started thinking about journalism as a career path.
And that path led her back to the Wabash Valley where her family is from. Many of her family members still live here, and still watch her on the news each day.
“Just to be able to work in a job that I love here at home, I think is a real blessing,” she said.
Winklepleck said she could sum up her 25-year career with one word: Grateful.
“I am grateful that I have a job that I love that I get to come to. I am grateful for all of the people that I have met. And that includes people I have worked with, people I have interviewed, and so many viewers that I have met,” she said. “And that I am also just very grateful that it was this job that helped me meet my husband.”
Winklepleck met her husband when she was sent to interview him for a story, and she was “quite smitten.”
“And, well, the rest is history,” she said.
The biggest change she has seen over the past 25 years has been the change in technology.
“You know, I used to have to carry around 50 pounds of equipment if I went out on a story,” she said. “And now the cameras are really small.”
Not only has the equipment changed, but now, social media plays a big role in the news industry as well.
Even with the many changes, she said, the heart of the job has stayed the same.
“Good journalism is good journalism,” she said. “So no matter what story you go out to, you may have to have a few more elements or do a few more things than you did 20 years ago, but still, it’s journalism. It’s basically getting to the truth, and telling the story, and making sure that what you say is relevant to the people you are saying it to.”
Winklepleck also said she wanted to thank her viewers for inviting her into their homes all of these years.
“You know what, I have been here at WTWO for 25 years,” she said. “I’m hoping for 25 more.”