by TRACY ZOLLINGER TURNER
Sara Wittmeyer accepted the job of news bureau chief of WFIU-FM/WTIU-TV 11 years ago. And while her title has remained the same, her newsroom—now public media’s largest in the state—hasn’t. Under her leadership, the staff has grown from five to 17, reporting across radio, television, and web platforms. Their broadcasts are heard and seen throughout Indiana, and often nationally. “Our goal is to meet our audience on whatever platform they use to get their news,” Wittmeyer says.
They’ve also produced documentaries on complex topics and issues of national interest such as opiate addiction, an investigation into corruption in Indiana’s electric co-ops (rural affairs are one of Wittmeyer’s passions), and, most recently, the story of Lisa Montgomery, the only female on federal death row.
Her team has won prestigious Edward R. Murrow Awards for its achievements in electronic journalism almost annually. “Our newsroom does an incredible job of producing content and I’m really proud of the work we do,” says Wittmeyer.
Wittmeyer spent part of her childhood living on a wholesale produce farm southeast of Cincinnati, dreaming of a career in TV reporting. One day, while she was working at her family’s store, local TV reporter Lynn Gerrou stopped in for directions. “I was in awe of her,” she says. “Here was this person who I watched on TV, and I thought she looked so glamorous and smart and energetic … it just really cemented for me that this is what I want to do.”
A few short years later, as a student at Northern Kentucky University, Wittmeyer landed a paid internship at that TV station, WCPO, working a few desks away from Gerrou.
Wittmeyer then left commercial television and turned her full attention toward the public broadcasting sphere. She worked at KBIA-FM, the University of Missouri’s radio station, where she was the assistant news director and a faculty member of its school of journalism before she came to Bloomington in 2010.