Holly Whisenhunt Stephen was the best executive producer an investigative reporter could ever ask for.
Holly, an award-winning journalist and a longtime IRE member, died Nov. 28 after a long battle with cancer. She was 38.
Holly spent much of her career in Texas, working for TV newsrooms in Stephenville, Waco, Austin, Houston and San Antonio, before moving to WTHR in Indianapolis. While in Indianapolis for the past three years, Holly helped lead WTHR’s 13 Investigates unit to national recognition, including an IRE Award, a Peabody award, a National Headliner, a Scripps Howard Award for excellence in broadcast journalism, and SPJ’s national Sigma Delta Chi Award for public service in journalism, among many other honors.
Several years ago Holly won a scholarship to attend one of IRE’s computer-assisted reporting boot camps. The experience sparked a passion to do investigative reporting in which the backbone of the story was the data she analyzed. In that spirit, and in Holly’s memory, WTHR is establishing a scholarship fund to help connect other broadcast journalists to the hands-on IRE training that Holly loved (see details below).
Holly’s husband, Josh Stephen, is an award-winning photojournalist at WTHR. Holly was the proud “momma” to Maxwell, Zeke and Etta, her three English bulldogs.
A memorial service will be held 3 p.m. Dec. 13 at the S. 11th & Willis Church of Christ, 3309 S. 11th St., Abilene, Texas, under the direction of Piersall Benton Funeral Directors. A second service will take place at 7 p.m., Dec. 17, at WTHR-TV, 1000 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis. For more information on the memorial services, contact Bob Segall at 317.408.3397 or Bsegall@wthr.com.
The scholarship being created in Holly’s name will help send broadcast journalists to IRE’s computer-assisted reporting boot camps. To donate, checks may be mailed to the following address, and please be sure to specify that the donation is in Holly’s honor. WTHR and Dispatch Broadcast Group is matching donations for the fund up to $5,000:
Investigative Reporters and Editors
Attention: Heather Henry, Fiscal Officer
141 Neff Annex
Missouri School of Journalism
Columbia, MO 65211
You can also donate online at www.ire.org/endowment/contribution.html
– IRE Member Bob Segall, WTHR-Indianapolis