Jennie Castor knew early on telling compelling stories that make a difference in people’s lives is her passion. She had no idea that passion would lead to an award-winning career that has spanned 20-years in television markets across the country.
After graduating from Fordham University, Jennie started her career as a traditional newsroom photojournalist at the ABC affiliate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In that newsroom, Jennie learned the true art of storytelling from some of the region's best photographers and reporters. Her hard work and dedication to her craft resulted in a tremendous career jump when Jennie landed here in Colorado.
Once in Denver, Jennie became the regional chairperson for the National Press Photographers' Association and regularly entered her own work in quarterly competitions. Covering daily assignments was part of the job, but uncovering unique, heart-warming stories was always a priority for Jennie. Jennie’s commitment to bringing viewers a more in depth understanding of their community and the people in it often included following a story for weeks or even years. Many of Jennie’s solo-produced stories won regional competitions. But breaking news events, like the Columbine tragedy, had a lasting impact on Jennie’s ability to respond to the physical needs of the newsroom while maintaining the compassion and sensitivity needed to interact with victims.
Seeking new professional challenges Jennie decided to join the team at KMGH-TV, 7News in 1999. Whether out of sheer necessity or simply the changing face of multi-platform journalism, Jennie was thrust into a multi-faceted role of photographer, editor, producer, writer and at times on-air reporter.
From covering live, national events like the Democratic National Convention, to in depth investigative stories as a member of the nationally recognized Call7 Investigators, to producing prime time specials, Jennie proved to be a valuable member of the 7News team. Jennie’s desire to expose the wrong-doing of elected officials, to spur change in Colorado’s regulatory process, and to empower viewers seeking help gave her the courage to participate in confrontational interviews while holding people accountable. As a result, Jennie’s work has been nominated for more than 20 regional Emmys, winning three awards just last year for investigative stories exposing a culture of bullying in local schools and exposing weaknesses in Colorado’s regulation of Chiropractors.
The topics will tell you, Jennie does not do this for recognition. But she gets it, winning awards from the Associated Press, Colorado Broadcasters Association and most recently the prestigious Scripps Howard Award for Excellence in Local Television for her work on KMGH-TV’s special, "Investigating the Fire."
That special, which identified weaknesses in the state’s fire emergency notification system, prompted legislative changes that will ultimately save lives. Within weeks, “Investigating the Fire” would earn Jennie and her colleagues a Peabody award, considered the pinnacle of national journalistic recognition.
Jennie has become one of KMGH-TV's experts on the ever changing photojournalist industry, specifically on the trend towards “backpack journalism”. She has been a keynote speaker at an annual conference of journalists in Nebraska where she gave a firsthand presentation about becoming a solo reporter and life on the other side of the camera. In March 2009, she showcased this updated presentation to a group of fellow photographers at the Ohio Press Photographer's Association.
Jennie is leading the way in adapting to the evolving news industry. She is currently spear-heading the training of 7News colleagues in multi-media journalism.
Jennie's passion expands outside the newsroom. In 2010, she joined the Board of "Sense of Security"; a non-profit focused on providing financial resources to ensure Colorado breast cancer patients can stay in their homes with food on their tables while they are in treatment.
Frustrated by the lack of good surf in Colorado, Jennie and her husband of 10 years spend as much of their free time as possible in Hawaii and other far-away lands. They share their Denver home with an adorable and quirky cat named Spencer.
E-mail Jennie at Jennifer@TheDenverChannel.com.