Upper Peninsula news director
Meet the Upper Peninsula’s tough news director: Ed Kearney. During the 1980s when drunken driving was in the forefront nationally, Ed Kearney, long-time news director of WLUC-TV6 in Negaunee, took a camera to the courtroom to show how justice was served locally in a series called “Paying the Price.” His news-gathering endeavors surrounding alcohol abuse helped usher more cameras into the courtroom and generate far more lively interviews with victims and perpetrators.
“The journalism that Ed taught (his employees) was first to be accurate and fair to both sides, even if it meant not hitting the air until the next day or later. He also treated every story and everyone the same way,” recalls Steve Asplund, WLUC-TV6 assistant news director/anchor.
Kearney worked 34 years at the station, 20 years as news director. During his tenure, he hired and trained more than 110 reporters, producers, anchors, meteorologists and videographers, often supervising their first professional journalism experiences, said Brad Van Sluyters, vice president and general manager. His retirement party drew more than 100 former employees, more than half proclaiming they stayed in the news business thanks to Kearney’s mentoring.
During Van Sluyter’s 24 years working with Kearney, the station never was involved in any litigation initiated by any story the News Department produced.
“A record for sure,” he said.
Over the years, Kearney won broadcast excellence awards in 2001, 2002 and 2003 from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters along with honors for community involvement, breaking news, features and special interest programs.
“Ed managed a strong staff that always kept us on our toes to try and produce the best news coverage in our area . . .
I challenged our reporters with the constant theme that the quality of our reporting tried to meet or exceed the television reporting standards,” said James A. Reevs, publisher and general manager of The Mining Journal in Marquette, the Upper Peninsula’s largest daily newspaper.