It is just shy of one year since my dream of being a broadcast journalist ended. I was hired as a multimedia journalist in 2017 by Gray Media after being a stay-at-home mom for 25 years. I was a homeschooling mom and a student myself. I was also a freelance writer, journalist, and portrait photographer. To inspire my kids, I finished my bachelor’s degree. I received my bachelor of science in leadership and started at the Nebraska NBC affiliate KNOP-TV in September 2017.
I rose quickly to morning producer/anchor by 2018. Not long after, I was promoted to producer and co-evening anchor. As I grew in the industry, my personal life was filled with struggle. My mother died of cancer just three months after I started in 2017, and in 2019, my 25-year-old daughter and her unborn son died unexpectedly.
It was the most difficult time of my life. I immersed myself in my family and my job. I kept my mind busy by finishing my master’s degree in international security and intelligence from Bellevue University, and I started my Ph.D. in forensic psychology. Covid-19 hit not long after.
In May 2020, KNOP-TV’s news director left the station for a Mississippi Gray station, and in June 2020, I became the news director. I continued to produce and anchor the 6 p.m. show, and sometimes the 10 p,m, show. When Covid was in full swing I lost employees who either moved away or quit rather than getting the mandatory vaccine. So, I taught myself how to produce and anchor weather with the help of my weatherman.
For one full year, I had no contact with the outside world of Gray Media. No one came and no one went. I was the boss (hiring, firing, managing payroll, overseeing office management, and so forth.). I was also producing, anchoring, sometimes doing the weather, and occasionally reporting. I did not miss a day of work during the pandemic.
In 2021 I was still doing these things, and sometimes even produced and anchored the morning show. I had a makeshift cot in my office for days when it did not make sense to drive home after the 10 p.m. show.
I live in Curtis, Nebraska, which does not get the KNOP-TV television signal. I grew up in small-town Nebraska where being a news director doesn’t really mean much to the average person. I don’t think people realized the extent of my job responsibilities in North Platte.
In 2022 an elder at St. John Lutheran Church started a petition to let voters decide if Curtis should be a sanctuary city for the unborn, a movement started by Mark Lee Dickson of Texas. A reporter from the Flatwater Free Press inquired about my involvement.
The reporter asked me a few questions one morning while I was getting my kids ready for school. I told her I was active in my church and pro-life. I answered her questions and volunteered that I had notarized petitions and witnessed signatures made. I assured her I never reported on my involvement or my actions in my church.
After our conversation ended, she asked me if I did or did not realize that as a journalist, I should never do what I did. I was confused. In my view, I had done nothing wrong. The issue of life is nonpartisan. There are pro-life people who are Republicans and pro-life people who are Democrats.
The reporter pressed me, and I said in frustration, “You know what, you’re right, I shouldn’t have done it.” I responded in duress, and it wasn’t even a coherent sentence. Yet it was the only “quote” she took from me for her story.
On the morning of September 30, 2022, the news article crossed news desks in Nebraska. By 6 p.m., I was no longer employed by Gray Media.
My Lincoln-based Gray Media bosses called me into my office in North Platte on my day off to tell me it would be my last day. I was escorted out. And while it may be a law in Nebraska that an employer may fire an employee, or an employee may leave employment, without reason, my former employee gave me a reason: I was told I was being fired for “practicing partisan politics.” I did not have a contract when I was fired.
Ironically, pro-life groups in North Platte later told me they thought I was pro-choice because I reported in a nonbiased manner. Furthermore, about a week after I was fired, nearly 30 articles written by me about abortion were all removed from the company’s website after I publicly asked people on my own social media to read the stories and tell me if I was reporting in a biased way. Nearly 300 stories I wrote covering other topics remain on Gray Media’s websites today.
Today, I continue to write stories on my own platform. I now have about 8,500 followers on Facebook. And I am unapologetically pro-life.
I have been given a lot of support by the community of North Platte and surrounding areas — I am still treated like a journalist by most. I sat at an anchor desk for EWTN (a Catholic Network) in Washington D.C. during the pro-life march in January 2023 and was interviewed by Lifesite News. I was on podcasts across the nation and have been given a couple of awards, most recently a Freedom Fighter Award in Hastings, Nebraska.
None of these activities pay, however. I am also completing my Ph.D. in forensic psychology. I had the honor of serving on a floor committee in St. Louis, Missouri for the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church prior to 2023’s 68th Regular Convention in Milwaukee. After Milwaukee, I was on Issues, etc. in St. Louis during the evening drive-time hour.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is currently reviewing my firing by Gray Media, and then I will be given a “right to sue” letter. I am praying about the course I should take.
I’m not sure what God wants me to do. I pray a prayer of thanksgiving and a prayer for clarity every day, among my other daily talking and walking with Him. I know that He strengthens us and draws us closer to Him in heartbreak and despair.
I always thought I was very close to God through the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, my baptism and confirmation, and now He must be rendering me for something important. I know that being fired in this way was a direct attack by the enemy. But we know what Jesus meant in John 19:30 when he said, “It is finished.” All that is important is indeed already finished in Him, and Christ has done all the work. I trust Him to know how He plans to use me to encourage others to know these truths.
To deny that life is life from conception to natural death is to deny Christ. And that, I will never do.
I still live in Curtis, Nebraska. My husband is a truck driver. I have four kids still in school, and the others are in various stages of their adult lives. I have six living grandchildren. My biggest dream now is to be salt and light in a dark, tasteless world. I want to write and make a difference where God will allow. Then I will rest in Him and with hope spend eternity praising Him where I will be with Him and my family in Heaven forever.
This story has been updated to reflect that the Flatwater Press has multiple offices in Nebraska.
After the story was published, Matt Wynn with the Nebraska Journalism Trust claimed in an e-mail to The Federalist that the reporter did not specify that the conversation, a recording of which Wynn said he listened to, was off the record.