With More Complete Coverage..

Journalism 101.  Start every story with your best sound and your best video.  Don’t bury the lead.  With that… this month is my last at KETV, after 15 years as a journalist at the only station I’ve ever known.

***

When I was a little girl, I used to sit on the stairs in our split level house in Papillion, with my legs dangling through the steps and a notebook in front of me.  I would just write.  I would write about my day.  I would play the game Life by myself, and use each space as a prompt to write a fictional story.  I’ve kept a journal since I had huge glasses and buck teeth.  In college, long-form essays and papers weren’t hassles, I relished them; I love letting the words just HAPPEN, and the surge of accomplishment when those words come full circle and everything just FITS.

I’ve always been a natural ‘performer’.  I was the ham hogging the attention for our 1st generation camcorder, jumping in front of my Dad with a goofy voice or song whenever he had the thing rolling.  I tried out for show choir every year I could, and joined the speech team my very first year of high school.  Speaking just came easily for me; and I was GOOD at it.  Forensics, theater and choir were my LIFE in high school.

I was never in journalism.  I didn’t carry around a Barbara Walters lunchbox.  I floated around my first year of college not knowing where I belonged or what my future looked like.  My sophomore year at UNL, I took Introduction to Broadcasting with Tom Spann, and was fascinated by a world of history, SHARING history, writing, and reporting.  Somehow the idea of an internship surfaced, and KETV was the station I grew up watching.  My mom bumped into longtime weekend anchor/reporter Pamela Jones at a city meeting, got contact information for the intern program, and I emailed Managing Editor Joe Kasmir the next day.  I showed up for my interview a good half an hour early.. and I will never forget walking through the Newsplex doors, overwhelmed to see the same set and newsroom I had watched on TV for so long.  Julie Cornell and Rob McCartney were just finishing the 6pm broadcast, and Julie looked up and smiled at me.

***

How do you sum up 15 years?

My first breaking news live shot at NP Dodge Park… that was God awful.

Covering my first night of tornadoes as an intern, Scott Buer at the wheel of the car, and me in the passenger seat wearing a green skirt suit and heels, trekking around in mud and rain COMPLETELY unprepared, but willing to stay out as long as Scott did.

Talking to a suspect in jail dubbed the ‘Bare Butt Bandit’, and hearing later from my best friend’s now-husband: ‘I said, Please God, let Brandi be doing that story..’

An Iowa shooting late at night with photojournalist Mike Richard, and then lying in the backseat on the way home  with my eyes squeezed shut, battling a nauseous migraine.

Live shots on the field at Memorial Stadium with Rob on one side and Jon on the other.. when a stray football was punted right into the side of my face.  Hearing my Assistant News Director Vonn Jones yelling in my ear ’30 seconds!!’ as I tried to regain my composure.. as did Jon and Rob (from dying laughing…)

Driving 8 hours throughout the night with Justin Riviera to cover an arrest in the Jon Benet Ramsey murder in Boulder, Colorado.  I was overwhelmed by literally HUNDREDS of rabid reporters; he shoved me and said ‘get in there, Petersen!’

Covering an afternoon and evening of tornado threats across western Iowa with photojournalist Dave Hynek.  Laughs because of a nerve-wracking live shot.. laughing that turned to chaos and sheer sadness when we learned less than an hour later about the tragedy at the Little Sioux Boy Scout Camp.  We worked through the night side by side, waiting for the details that would shake our community and the country.

Countless tears when things went wrong.  Crying to my roommate, wondering what I should have done better.  Coming home and sobbing to myself, questioning my decisions as not only a reporter, but a human being.

Westroads.  Derek Ruth.  The Butternut fire. The paralyzed bride.  Clayton Hildreth.  Evan Sharp.  Pediatric brain cancer.  Amber Harris.  Baby Lawrence.  La Paz, Mexico.

JP Carter.  John Matya.  Trisha Meuret.  Tom Elser.  Joe Kasmir.  Cathy Beeler.  Jay Roberts.  Vonn Jones.  Jon Schuetz. Sean McMahon. Justin Riviera.  Renee Ludvik.  Kristyna Engdahl.  Jeremy Maskel.  Adrian Whitsett.  Andy Ozaki.  Natalie Glucklich. Melissa Fry.  ROB, ANDY, DAVE. My coworkers that have become my family.

Through KETV, I met my husband.  I was on air throughout my pregnancies with both of my boys.  We moved; twice.  This is where we grew up; this is home.

At KETV we lost Joe, my mentor who hired me, fueled my passion for journalism, and always, ALWAYS pushed me to be better, while making me feel like I was really something special.  I often wish he had been alive to see me anchor ‘the big show’.

We lost Jeff Frolio, the photographer who told me about jazz, and how special music was for him and his wife.  It was the music at his final service that broke me down.

***

Just like my stories… in so many ways, THIS story has come full circle for me.  My sweet ‘baby’ boy Easton will start Kindergarten in a few short weeks.  Guys, I need to be here with my children.  I need to hear about their days, I need to be there for school concerts and carnivals and dinner on our deck.  I need to hear THEIR stories, and I need to be PART of their stories when they look back and share them throughout their lives.  News is a business like no other; it never stops.  Tornadoes don’t drop from the sky from 9-5, Monday through Friday.  Tragedies don’t happen just while we’re on the clock.  There will be another journalist, waiting and ready, to slide into that spot next to Rob to anchor our evening newscast every night, but I am my boys’ ONLY MOTHER.  I am the ONLY MOMMA they will ever have.

God works in mysterious ways; he always has a plan, though we may not understand it as it’s unfolding.  Next month, I will join the Communications team with Westside Community Schools.  I still get to tell stories; GREAT stories about incredible students, teachers making a difference, programs that impact generations of kids.  I get to showcase the GOOD in our world; I get to WRITE.  But every day, I also get to go home to my family.  We can eat dinner together.  We can play at the park, and watch the sunset, wake up the next morning and do it all over again.  I know I’ll be home every Christmas morning, I’ll get to watch fireworks with my kids every 4th of July, I get to stay at the pool with them Sunday mornings instead of putting on my makeup, straightening my hair and heading to the station.  I need to say this: I have SO MUCH RESPECT for working parents, regardless of their shifts.  People all over America work crazy hours, love what they do, and love their lives at home.  I work with many of them here at 7!

For me.. it’s just time.  Still, as I write this, I still feel the tears welling up behind my eyes.  I am so excited for this new opportunity and new chapter in my life, but it truly is so hard to say goodbye.  My fear is that I didn’t matter.  That time will go on and it will be like I was never there. That sounds really narcissistic and egotistical; truly, I’ve tried to make a point in my career to NOT make everything about me, to make our stories about THE PEOPLE, PLACES, AND ISSUES we are sharing.  But to everyone throughout these 15 years who’s made me feel ‘like a big deal’.. to everyone who has watched us, followed us, trusted us.. THANK YOU.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  I don’t have words beyond that.. but I hope you understand the deep gratitude from the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU.

WATCH KETV.  You will NEVER find a better journalist than Rob McCartney.  This dude is one of the best human beings I have ever known; he cares, he listens, he is always asking questions and trying to dig a little deeper to share the most complete story possible, and I’d argue NO ONE is trusted as a journalist in our state more than Rob.  He is noble, smart, a leader, compassionate.  He is a good friend.  Bill Randby is HANDS DOWN THE BEST meteorologist you could ever turn to; NO ONE cares more about providing people accurate information than this guy, and truly one of the most genuinely KIND people I have ever met.  Kristyna Engdahl is BRILLIANT.  Her writing is phenomenal, she’s fair, she has a GIFT for public speaking and thinking on her feet, and I WISH everyone at home could meet her and feel her energy in person.. because she makes EVERY DAY better when you’re around her.  Andy Kendeigh is the big brother I never had–always supportive, always caring, just an AMAZING GUY and such a wonderful friend.  And holy crap, is this guy GOOD.  Athletes and coaches LOVE him for a reason–he’s hilarious, hard working, devoted to what he shares every night and throughout every season.  In addition… our future is so very bright.  Alexandra Stone, Chinh Doan, Laurann Robinson, Sean Everson, Matt Serwe, Cem Brinklow, Ashley Nodgaard, Josh Gear, Davonte McKenith, David Earl, Katie Bane, Tanner Kahler, Matt Lothrop, Camila Orti… all of the people you see and many you don’t… they are HUNGRY for good journalism.  They want to tell good stories.  They are willing to sacrifice sleep, personal time, personal LIVES, to make KETV the best it can be.  This team IS TRULY THE BEST.  You will not find local news in our state that is better–YOU JUST WON’T.

***

I knew this day was coming.  I didn’t think it would be this WEIRD.  That’s the only word that makes sense.  I don’t have enough words, and at the same time, I feel like I’ve said too much.

We’ve got a few weeks left, Omaha–let’s make it awesome.  Westside, I hope to make you proud.  KETV, I hope I’ve made a mark, some kind of difference.

And to my boys.. I love you.  Let’s go hunt some pokemon and have a great morning together.

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Photo courtesy Photography By CB

56 thoughts on “With More Complete Coverage..

  1. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. You were able to bring light to many situations and still inform the public on what the truth was regarding each and every event.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Such a huge Brandi fan….not gonna lie, as little heartbroken, but as a mom, I get it. Wish you all the best and every success as you go forward. Take care and God Bless!
      Julie Benes, Wahoo

      Liked by 1 person

    • You did make a difference in the Omaha community and I know you were and are appreciated. God and your family are always more important than anything else. Take comfort and enjoy your new adventure.
      I do hope you will be the Master of Ceremonies with Rob at the Papillion Gala in
      August. You will definitely be missed if you aren’t there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brandi I have been shedding tears while reading your blog. I’m a Westside 84′ graduate and they are lucky to have you. I’ve been a follower of yours ever since you started back 15ys ago. I feel like I know you as a person because you are an amazing broadcast journalist. You have left a mark at Ketv because of how you tell a story and connect with the viewers and how you connected with me. It’s so wonderful that you get to be with your boys, husband and family now. Enjoy your new career and life because you deserve the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brandi your the best!!!! Tears in my eyes and all choked up but it’s your time to shine with your family like you’ve shined on channel 7 !!! You will be missed!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brandi you will be missed..I have enjoyed watching you give us the update information on all current events here and around the world. Thank You . You are correct you are mommy first. Your babies deserve to make all those memories with you. They are only little once enjoy them.
    God Bless you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What makes a great reporter is not just giving the facts, but feeling the news personally. It always shows in the delivery. You have not only kept us informed but have shown the empathy on every story you report. You will be missed!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. YOu have been the friendly honest face that came into our homes with what was happening here in Omaha and the world. You will be missed …You left your mark! Kudos to you for putting your family first…hug your kids tight.

    Like

  7. Brandi,
    You are an absolutely amazing writer and journalist! I so enjoyed reading this blog. You have made a mark on Omaha and you will be missed. You always “shine” in your broadcasts but now you get to “shine” in your kids daily lives, 24/7. It will be the best decision you’ve ever made. I took 9 years off from teaching and loved that time with my kids. You can always go back to work, but you can never get these years back with your kids; so enjoy! Congratulations on 15 years of broadcasting! Have fun with your family and all the memories to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You are an incredible inspiration to all who seek to achieve greatness in ANY field…..not just journalism. Brilliant writer……….fine human-being. God bless you………..

    Like

  9. My wife’s first day as a full time mom started 1 week ago. We moved to a smaller house and made every change that was necessary. Best decision that we’ve ever made together. If my tv is on its ABC World News at 5:30pm and KETV at 6pm. Thanks for all you have done and best of luck to you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You will be missed. Your smile is like sunshine. I wish you so many Blessings on your new Journey. I’m sure your boys will be so happy to have their mama home with them. I can remember coming home from school and my mom always being there. I can never thank her enough. God Bless you and your family Brandi. I truly will miss you sweet face.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for being the best you can. As you start your new chapter enjoy those memories of those precious boys they grow up fast. God bless you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Brandi, congratulations on your new endeavor! You will be greatly missed but I am so happy for you and your sweet, little family! The city of Omaha has been Blessed by your 15 years of caring and compassion you have put into each and every broadcast! Best of everything to you always!
    Anisa

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Best wishes to you—you will never regret spending more time with your family!! My children have taught me more about being a good human being than anyone else ever could…….God is always in charge……you will love your new job and your family will benefit so much from your presence and from all of your life experiences. Many blessings to you and yours!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for being willing to step down to be there for your kids! It is not an easy decision but it will be one you will never regret doing and always cherish making. I grew up in a home that included “dinner as a family at 5:30pm every day”. I raised my kids with “dinner when we are all home” which sometimes in the teen years translated into 8pm–however, I would never ever trade the stories and support that was shared each and every meal together!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your gift with Omaha. We will miss you. Best of luck to you and your beautiful family! Your boys are blessed to have you listen to the call to be home with them more.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. As much as we will miss you, we are happy or you and your sweet family. Mour loss is their gain. You have been an amazing gift to the world of journalism. Your shies will certainly be hard to fill. Good luck. You are loved.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Brandi, it has been great watching you and the team over the years. You were in the same hospital having your little boy when we were having ours in that awful snow storm Jan 2011. My oldest was just hoping he would run into you to meet you. He would look up and down the hall everyday.
    We were very very close friends to Clella, Jeff Frolios Mom. I have so many great memories of her coming to stay with us, it was a horrible thing that happened to him and a sad day for many.
    My oldest has declared he wants to go into journalism and has his heart and mind set that he will be going to work at KETV. He will be sad to hear that you will no longer be there.
    Thank you for all your years and time put into the community that took away from your little ones. I believe it was truly appreciated by all around you! Thank you for your heart and dedication to this community, your smiling face will be missed. Have fun and enjoy every minute you can with your little ones life goes by way too fast. ENJOY!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Brandi. So excited for your next chapter. I respect and applaud your decision to spend more time with your precious family. They grow up and it all goes by so quickly! So enjoyed meeting you at Miss NE in North Platte. May God bless you and continue to direct your path. Sincerely, Jo Larson

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I have so enjoyed watching you blossom as a journalist and just all around wonderful person. You have been a part of my daily routine in my crazy weird schedule of life and I am going to miss your sincerity,humor and honesty. But you are doing the right thing for your family and for you! Enjoy it, never, ever regret it and certainly keep making your mark on the world by just being you! Bloom where God plants you! All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Brandi, I am also sitting here crying reading your words. I will MISS you on KETV, as will many, many others. You are a part of our lives. I don’t really know you of course, but yet I feel I do. It won’t be the same without you. 😦 You are doing what we all should do. You are following your heart as to what will give you, your husband, and your two boys the best life, true happiness. I pray for you and your family. I wish you the best. May God watch over you and your family always! Good luck Brandi! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. You will never ever regret you decision to put your family first. This precious time with your children goes by so fast. I still remember my oldest daughter starting kindergarten and now she will be heading to college. God does have a plan for you, how exciting. Best wishes for you now and in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Brandi, You are the consummate professional. Your finest hour was after the Von Maur shootings and how you protected the victims’ families and let the have their privacy. You are a class act . I hope you continue to blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Enjoy your next exciting chapter in life! I can’t think of anything more important than extra quality time with family. I remember working at UNO, when you came as a new reporter to cover campus happenings. I was very impressed with your professionalism and wasn’t surprised that you soon became anchor. We’ll miss you, but I’m happy to see there are people who still put family first. Best of luck! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. You are a mom! What a refreshing story. In a world where so many people are all about me and their children are after thoughts. There will always be jobs and opportunities, but your children are children for such a short time. Enjoy them. God Bless you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thank you for such a wonderful job! You are a true inspiration! Your compassion to the stories which you have covered can be a lesson to those who will follow in your footsteps. Your reporting of stories which have touched so many lives is, as my daughter Michelle Skillings has said recently, “Magical.” I so appreciate the time, devotion, and more importantly to me, compassion which you showed my daughter when you reported about our tragic loss of our grandson, Brayden, to SIDS. I was so filled with tears when I watched your interviews, but I was also filled with such pride. Thank you Brandi for all that you have done for the Omaha community. May God bless you and your children in your future adventures. Take a bow young lady – – take a bow! Best wishes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. You are making the right decision and I applaud you. While you will be missed watching the news. Your family is so much more important than your audience. Love and enjoy your children as they grow up way too fast.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. When we come to the end of our lives–no one says with their dying breath–gee I wish I had spent more time at the office. Thanks for being a great mother to your boys! There is no substitute for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Brandi I hope u the best in life n with your lil family.u have just been a friend n love one to everyone on ketv 7 n the ppl who have watch u over the yrs.we will all miss u dearly n deeply so pls come bk n c us on ketv when u can.good luck on your new job being at home.your r a very loving mommy n lady to us all.your boy r so handsome n had growing up so fast n your husband is handsome to just like your boys.we all can say thank u thank u thank u Brandi for what u have done for ketv.we can say fare well Brandi u will b miss n forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Brandi, you matter – to Omaha, and (more than anyone else) to your family. I’m proud of, and grateful for, your place in my family’s life and this community’s news. God bless you and your family in this next chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. What a wonderful time for you and your family. You will certainly be missed on the news, but you will be in the best place ever for your kids! Enjoy !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. You will never regret putting the family first. Best wished to you in all your endeavors. I’ve enjoyed watching you on TV and at events in town. You mattered!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Congrats on your new adventure! We have so greatly appreciated your support in our publishing journey we are glad to see you start this next phase in your life!

    PS: Not having to wear make-up and do the fair everyday is AWESOME!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Brandi, you have definitely made a difference on KETV! We look so forward to your newscast each time it is on. We love the bantering between you and the “guys.” May God bless you on your new journey. Children grow so fast, you blink and they are ready to leave home, so enjoy this precious time with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. You did a great job, no matter how tough, demanding, scary or heartbreaking the story was. We trust you. There is no compliment I can give better than that. Don’t be sad, finding more space for family is never the wrong chioce, and there are lots of younger folks who will step up and do a great job for KETV. But you will be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. One of your first assignments as a reporter was your coverage during very bad weather in Omaha. You wore a a very light windbreaker, temperature in the 30’s or 40’s and it was raining. I believe it to be on a Saturday morning. You did a great job. You will be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Hey, Brandi. This is Terry Peterson from a time long ago when you were perfecting your speaking skills. Angela S. posted this, and I thought I would reply. Just to let you know that you have always had my highest respect not only as a speaker, but as a person. I have actually watched some of your reports from my home in the wild west. This particular blog entry is a wonderful example of your writhing and your personality. Good luck in your future.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Brandi, you’ve done a fantastic job at KETV! Life with your children is important for all the milestones you don’t want to miss. We understand and will miss you sitting next to Rob . You are an exceptional lady and have always reported with all your heart into every story. Good luck look forward to seeing you around town.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Wishing you all the best Brandi, I too have enjoyed watching you & the CH-7 news crew. Makes me sad when people leave. The most important job you can have is to be a Mom, I hope your position @ Westside with allow you the time you need as well to be home with your kids.

    Liked by 1 person

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