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"Congratulations Darlene. We just won a 2010 Peabody Award." I'll never forget how happy I felt after answering that telephone call from my news director at Fox 32 News.
I've worked at the station for 19 years. I'm a general assignment reporter and just recently was named co-anchor of Fox Chicago Sunday, the stations political show. I've covered some amazing stories, I've reported from the Democratic National Convention, I covered the 2008 Presidential Inauguration in Washington DC and have traveled through most neighborhoods across the city and through the suburbs. I've been awarded a number of regional and other national awards, including The Edward R. Murrow, Chicago Emmy Awards and The Gracie Award.
With this experience in my reporter's bag, I thought I'd covered every kind of story in the "Windy City" possible. Then on September 25, 2009, I was given an assignment that changed me forever. That's when the newsroom found out that a high-school junior's savage beating death had been caught on tape, just blocks away from his school. Immediately, I relied on my sources and south-side connections, and six hours after getting the assignment, I had the camcorder footage in hand. It was an exclusive.
My News Director and I talked about the video's contents and I became the "lead" reporter on the story. I talked to many people that day, including a student who helped drag the teen's lifeless body to safety until police and paramedics could arrive. I also interviewed people who live in the community who say police and the Chicago Public School system hadn't done enough to end school violence in or around the school.
The video shook Chicago to its core, but securing and airing the video wasn't enough. In the weeks and months to come, the Fox 32 News team did follow up stories every day.
All told, the stories I helped to report for Fox 32 News earned our station the famed Peabody Award. And while the trophy will sit in our newsroom, it is shared with south side residents who brought the story to the city's news forefront.
I spend a lot of time reporting on the stories that affect our city. I live in Beverly and mentor a number of teenagers at various middle and high schools around Chicago. I'm a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
I graduated from the Ohio State University and I have two teenagers.
It's you, Chicago, who help me earn these honors. If you have a story idea to share with me, my email address at Fox is email@example.com and you also can check me out on Facebook.
Visit the Fox 32 Sunday Page to see her political reports.