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In Milwaukee Buzz

"I love reporting, especially lately, because our management has put new emphasis on our coverage with local features." (PHOTO: Whitney Teska)

In Milwaukee Buzz

"I'm checking blogs and six or seven Web sites every day. Everyone has a different vantage point." (PHOTO: Whitney Teska)

In Milwaukee Buzz

"It's my goal to be as good as I can be. I never go out there and half-ass it." (PHOTO: Whitney Teska)

Milwaukee Talks: FOX 6 sports anchor Jen Lada




Audio Podcast: Reporter Jen Lada talks about getting starstuck in the presence of her heroes
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OMC: What's it like to be back in Milwaukee as a working professional and not as a student?

JL: It's terrific, but I didn't really ever leave Milwaukee. When I was in Rockford, I lived here for a portion of the time, commuting back and forth. With gas prices now, that would be impossible.

I always loved this city. I love everything it offers. I love the lakefront, Jazz in the Park, the little restaurants and the idiosyncrasies of Milwaukee. It was really difficult upon leaving Marquette to really buy into Rockford. Sean, my husband, said, "This is ridiculous, commuting every day. Lets just move there." So we made the transition, but we were only there for a year. It was such a different scene to actually live in Rockford, but we had a great time while were there.

OMC: Which part of your job do you like better, the reporting or anchoring?

JL: That's a no-brainer for me. I love reporting, especially lately, because our management has put new emphasis on our coverage with local features. The challenge for us, from a departmental standpoint, is to find interesting features that appeal to not just your average sports fan, but to Milwaukee in general -- on a daily basis. We've done a very good job. I've done some stories about a local runner who picks up garbage while he runs. He's called the "eco runner." It got rave reviews from people who aren't even sports fans.

Reporting has always been more of my forte. I try to get better at anchoring every day. The opportunities don't present themselves as often as I would like, because Tim (Van Vooren) handles most of the earlies and Pip (Tom Pipines) handles most of the evenings. Whenever I can fill in, my goal for the day is to get better from the time before.

OMC: Tell me how sports coverage on local TV news is changing -- and has already changed.

JL: I think we've already seen a transition to it being more local on a nightly basis. We try to do the things that fans are talking about. Sports are a visual medium. As much as people can get scores on their Blackberries or iPhones, you can't see the amazing catch or see Ryan Braun sliding through left field to rob a base hit. As long as we keep our focus really narrow, and say, "This is what we need to deliver," we'll be OK.

Local features are still huge, and from a time standpoint, they take time away from other highlights. But they can be valuable features on people in the community who are doing amazing things. You'll never see those stories on the national sports highlight shows.

OMC: You have only three sports reporters at your station, yet your task is to cover everything. Compared to, say, a beat writer, is it hard to develop a rapport with individual players and coaches?

JL: It can be. The more access you have, the better relationship you're going to have. The challenge for us as television reporters is to try to exhaust all of your resources. If those beat reporters write something, it's our job to be familiar with it. We need to make sure that we're on top of our game and that we are aware of any information that's out there. That's why I'm checking blogs and six or seven Web sites every day. Everyone has a different vantage point. With Pip and Tim being in the market as long as they have, we have a really good balance of contacts.

OMC: Are those guys good mentors for you?

JL: They're tremendous, for different reasons. They both have been so successful and work so hard. I have been so lucky to work with them, they're such good people. That was a huge thing for me, when FOX 6 interviewed me. I felt like I was interviewing them, as well. They've been incredible in leading me down the right paths.

OMC: Some people within media circles have told me that they think you're too good for the Milwaukee market. Have you heard that? Is Milwaukee a stepping stone to another city?

JL: I'm extremely humbled and flattered to hear that.

OMC: Well, you might be the youngest sports anchor in the city.

JL: Probably, but I'm not as young as you think. I'm 27. I'm my worst critic. I'm really hard on myself, so I try to be as polished as possible. It's my goal to be as good as I can be. I never go out there and half-ass it.

I appreciate people who think I'm seasoned. I love Milwaukee, and to be able to have the type of career that Pip has had would be incredible, because he's so respected in this community. From a female perspective, it is a little more difficult. We're torn in so many different directions, particularly when you want to have a family.

OMC: And you are expecting your first child.

JL: The great thing about Milwaukee is that FOX 6 will be extremely accommodating. That's why I think Milwaukee will be a home to me for a while. We really have roots here. Starting over is very intimidating for anyone. I also don't feel like I've reached my full potential here. I'm not some person who says it's time to jump ship just because a contract expires.

OMC: So, if Chicago calls tomorrow, do you move?

JL: It's tough to say, because my priorities are changing. Two years ago, absolutely. For my parents to have the opportunity to see me on a nightly basis would be a dream come true. I'm not gonna win any fans with this, but I grew up following the Cubs and the Bulls. At this point in my life, I have to start looking at what best for (my husband) Sean and anyone else we might bring along.

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Talkbacks

NewBerlinLarry | July 18, 2011 at 11:41 a.m. (report)

She's cute. Frankly, if I have a choice of watching her or that bumbling stooge Tom Pippens, who would you chose?

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ihc13 | Sept. 13, 2009 at 5:40 p.m. (report)

I do not necessarily think that is fair to say. Maybe she was having a bad day. Any girl working in a situation where men are the predominent figures are subject to a lot of bs. I am proud of her. I went to school with her. We had our 'school issues,' and I have not seen her since. But I am glad that she is doing something that makes her happy. She has always been a hard worker. That she is living her dream one day at a time is a testament to that determination and drive that she has always seemed to have. Give her some slack. If she is 'mean,' etc. karma will figure that out.

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milwsports | Sept. 23, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. (report)

Lada seems excited by covering sports, but seems to not to be nice to others around her. I have seen her at several sports events and she seems angry and kind of mean. That is how she appears to me.

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Hmmm?? | July 15, 2008 at 10:42 a.m. (report)

Did Jen used to be a cocktail waitress on Water St??? She looks exactly like a girl that used to work at 1225 i think or maybe it was another bar.

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