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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Steve Jefferson leaving WTHR after 19 years

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Update: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Steve Jefferson’s first day at WFAA TV is Sept. 1. His last day at WTHR is Sept. 1, and he starts at WFAA in mid-September.

Longtime crime reporter Steve Jefferson will leave WTHR Channel 13 to join the newsroom at WFAA TV in Dallas, he told the Recorder.

Jefferson has worked at WTHR since 2002. His recognitions include three Emmys and a Best Newscast award from the Associated Press. Throughout his career he has reported on events including Hurricane Katrina, the trial of Derek Chauvin and police shooting of Breonna Taylor.

Jefferson’s last day at WTHR is Sept. 1. He starts at WFAA in mid-September.

Jefferson said he’ll miss Indianapolis and WTHR. WFAA’s reputation as one of the top newsrooms in the country, and Dallas-Fort Worth being a top-five TV market, made the decision fairly easy.

Steve Jefferson (Photo provided by WTHR)

He said he’ll miss helping make Indianapolis a better place to live by giving families the information they need. Jefferson said he doesn’t take for granted how many people have trusted him over the years to tell their story on the evening news.

“When you meet people in many cases on the worst day of their life, they are turning over a personal incident that has impacted them and will impact their family for the rest of their lives, and you want to get it right,” he said.

WTHR News Director Jeff Rosetti said Jefferson was a good reporter on a tricky beat like crime — where it’s easy for journalists to fall in line with whatever police say — because he took the time to make connections with people from law enforcement and in the community.

“Steve just brings emotion and empathy and humanity into what he’s doing,” Rosetti said.

WFAA Executive News Director Leslie McCardel said she’s been following Jefferson for a while, since both stations are owned by TEGNA, and knew from the first time they spoke he would be a good reporter for North Texans.

“Steve is an excellent reporter with experience in making and breaking news for the communities he serves,” McCardel said in an email. “He invests himself in the community and tells meaningful stories that have impact.”

Jefferson was also active in the Indianapolis community outside of journalism, serving on boards and volunteering at organizations such as the Center for Leadership Development and 100 Black Men of Indianapolis.

“Steve’s been not just a constant professional presence on air,” Rosetti said, “but if you know Steve, you know Steve lives and breathes this community.”

Jefferson is from Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Wright State University with a degree in journalism. Jefferson was previously a TV and radio reporter in Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi and Oregon.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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