We The Journalists: Kelley Dunn
If you live in South Florida, Kelley Dunn is a journalist you have probably seen on TV once or twice.
Dunn is a five-time Emmy Award winning journalist who began her career in West Palm Beach working for WPTV, where she still works today. She began her career as a reporter, but quickly became an anchor for the NBC affiliate TV station in Palm Beach County.
By Lynn Walsh
She was born in California, but only lived there for a year. Dunn was raised in Daytona Beach and received her Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting from the University of Florida. Follow her on Twitter.
SPJ SoFla: What’s one part of your job that most folks don’t realize you do?
Kelly Dunn: Most people do not realize that we answer our own phones, book our own speaking engagements and answer our own emails! They also do not realize that we style our own hair, buy and wear our own clothes, apply our own makeup and everything else related to our on-air look.
What is one career highlight?
I did a story on retinoblastoma (cancer of the retina). A 3-year-old in our area died of this terrible disease. It turns out, his grandmother, Pam Bergsma, photographed the tumor in his eye months before it was able to be detected by a doctor or started causing symptoms.
In some flash photography, retinoblastoma appears opaque in the affected eye. When Pam learned this fact after little Joey’s death, she started a campaign to make people aware of it. My story on Pam happened to have been seen by a grandmother in West Palm Beach who saw the same “white dot” in her granddaughter’s eye when she looked through recent pictures of their trip to Disney.
That grandma took the little girl to the doctor and sure enough it was diagnosed as retinoblastoma, but it was caught early. Little Lexie did not lose her eye or her life.
We introduced the two grandma’s in a follow up story and featured Lexie’s success story. It was amazing and won me my first emmy.
What’s the best part of your job?
Best part of the job is working with such amazing people who have become some of my best friends. In fact, I met my husband at channel 5….27 years ago!
What’s the worst part of your job?
When people feel that they have the right to say or email nasty things to you just because you’re on television.
What is one piece of advice you wish you could surgically implant into college students and young professionals?
Learn grammar! It is astounding how poorly people speak and write these days. Proper English and grammar always matters!
Throughout March, April, May and June, SPJ South Florida Pro will feature Q&As every Friday with South Florida’s most prominent journalists. Want to see someone featured? Want to join SPJ? Email us.
Lynn Walsh is the Vice President of Programs for SPJ South Florida Pro. Follow her on Twitter.