For more than two decades, Greater Flint residents have tuned in to TV12 to get their local news updates from Evening Anchor, Angie Hendershot.
The Davison native attended Central Michigan University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Political Science and Government, and Broadcast and Cinematic Arts. She went on to Northwestern University to earn her Masters in Broadcast Journalism. Her news career began in 1995 as a News Reporter/Anchor at WLNS TV before joining the team at ABC 12 in 1996.
Hendershot’s excellence in broadcast journalism has been recognized on the regional level, as well as with two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, numerous Associated Press and Michigan Association of Broadcasters awards and several Emmy® Awards, most recently the 2020 Emmy® for Best News Anchor from the Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
My City is happy to highlight Angie Hendershot and her thoughts about her hometown, family and career in this “My Success” feature.
When did you know you wanted to be a broadcast journalist?
I was one of the rare people who actually knew what I wanted to do “when I grew up” at a pretty early age. I always loved to write and tell a good story. I memorized books and “read” aloud to my family before I could actually read and my dad would pretend to have a spotlight on me when I told a story! At Davison High School, I fell in love with journalism and broadcasting. When I gave my first speech as a freshman, one of my teachers marched me down to the public speaking teacher’s classroom and had me give the speech for him. The next day, I started doing the morning announcements. I worked on the high school newspaper, called the JV football games, emceed the talent show (rather than actually having a talent) and competed in forensics in the radio, and later, the TV news category. By the time I went to college, I had chosen my career path and feel so fortunate to have spent 23 years (and counting) working as a journalist in my hometown.
How has the news media changed since you started nearly 24 years ago?
It’s a completely different world – from technology to the resources and the way our newsroom staff looks. I can definitely remember being one of the few women in the room, which was hard at times; but I was blessed to be part of a strong group of female journalists who believed in each other and this business.
I feel fortunate that I came up during the Golden Age of journalism. I had the chance to learn from some of the best newspaper and broadcast journalists in the business as I began my career at WJRT as a crime reporter. We can now connect more directly with our viewers through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and achieve live coverage faster and easier than ever, which is both challenging and exciting! As this business changes, the fundamentals of journalism have never been so important. People want a good story, a source they can trust, someone who will ask questions, expose corruption and give our community a voice.
How did growing up in Greater Flint shape the person you are today?
It gave me strength and resilience – an inner grit that makes anything possible. Being a journalist in my hometown is a dream come true. There are so many good people and stories; people who are rising above their circumstances to do incredible things and make a difference. I’ve covered stories that are impacting my friends and family and the community I grew up in, and when I see a need or a problem, I’ve had the chance to shine a light on it and do what I can to help people.
Did any special people influence you?
I was influenced by my father’s strong work ethic, character and faith, and my mother’s unconditional love and belief in me, no matter what. They sacrificed a lot to put me through college and graduate school and I’ll always be grateful.
I’m thankful to my first news director, Jim Bleicher, for giving me my start, pushing me to be a better reporter and news anchor and guiding me to use journalism as a driving force for social change. I can’t say enough about my newsroom family – past and present – in particular, I’m grateful for my incredible co-anchor and friend, Matt Franklin. We’ve been through so much together! It’s a team I’m proud to be part of and I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of them.
I have to also mention my circle of close friends who have been there for me during the highs and lows of my job and life to cheer for me, have my back, pick me up and make fun of me whenever possible.
What is the story you covered that had the most impact on you?
My oldest son was in diapers when I started covering Baby Court of Genesee County and learned about the heartbreaking living conditions of some of the mothers in our community. I had covered stories before and thought I knew about poverty. But following a woman for three years while she fought to get her children back changed me. She was living in a trailer with rotting floors and no running water, her two baby boys in a filthy, unthinkable environment. She had nothing and no one. She had severe depression and the only caretaker she ever had, her grandfather, had died and she became homeless – living in cars, hotels, wherever she could to hang on to her babies. It seemed like she had no hope, until she walked into Judge Robert Weiss’s courtroom and he did something no one had ever done: he believed in her. He asked her about her living conditions and she told a story about one winter morning waiting in the cold with her babies until Catholic Charities opened so she could get diapers. They could only give her six – for two weeks! I couldn’t get it out of my head. I knew I had to help her and every mother like her in our community.
Thanks to my wonderful news station ABC12 and News Director, Jim Bleicher, who said “go for it,” I held my very first diaper drive in 2008. Later, my News Director, Jayne Hodak and General Manager, Pete Veto helped make it even bigger. Then, angels like Phil Shaltz helped make it a non-profit called the Flint Diaper Bank, and ELGA Credit Union’s Cheryl Sclater embraced the project and helped bring more attention and dollars to it than I could imagine. Our community diaper drives have now delivered a million diapers to families in need every year.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Personally, my 20-year marriage and our two sons – Steve and the boys are the best things that ever happened to me. Becoming a mom made me see the whole world differently and, I believe, made me a better journalist. Professionally, I’m most proud of our newsroom’s work covering the Flint Water Crisis, and winning a national Edward R. Murrow Award for a story about the effect on children who were born when it all began. I’m thankful the families trusted me to share their stories and honored to have helped bring national attention to our community’s struggles and strength.
What do you hope for Flint’s future?
I hope for clean water that the people who live here can trust, the ability to believe their leaders again, the early childhood education, fresh and nutritious food, medical care and opportunities everyone deserves.
Any final thoughts?
As a journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to help others and met people with passions and causes that tug at your heart and are too powerful to ignore. This is why I’ve chosen to stay in the Flint area where I grew up and where I’m raising my family. Being a difference-maker in our community is what moves me now.