WTMJ's O'Donnell captures a bittersweet moment
For radio news reporter Dan O'Donnell, his job affords the opportunity and chore of covering a wide range of stories.
As he sits in front of the microphone weekday afternoons on 620 WTMJ, he relays headlines on politics, traffic and other news of the moment. When he gets to sit in following Brewers games, he changes gears and facilitates a conversation on the latest accomplishments and failures of a ball club.
"News of the day, crime, murder ... sometimes it is nice to focus on positive news that's going on in this community," O'Donnell said.
However, sometimes O'Donnell will work on a story that fits somewhere in between, a place where he can practice his craft and share a well-told story.
The Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) presents the best of the best, and they gave O'Donnell a national nod for his work telling a story that involved the charity work of the Brewers, and of a family dealing with a devastating loss.
Treyton Kilar was a huge fan of baseball. He loved his Brewers and thought Prince Fielder was the best player. In 2010, the almost 7-year-old was killed in an accident when a drunken driver took his life. The family began an effort to raise money for a youth-sized field in honor of their boy, who always seemed to have a glove and ball in hand.
When the Brewers made the playoffs in 2011, O'Donnell was on hand to cover the National League games at Miller Park. Before one of the games, the Brewers asked Kilar's family to come to the game and for Treyton's dad to throw the first pitch to his son's favorite player, Prince Fielder.
"My news director told me that this could be happening and that I should get there a little early," O'Donnell said. "It's just a story of a family in so much pain, and it intersected with the baseball team experiencing so much joy (to be in the playoffs)."
O'Donnell knew that he had to tell this story, to be able to capture this moment.
"It was tremendous for the Brewers to be able to do something like this for a family," O'Donnell said of the donation the ball club made to the fundraising effort. "But to also have the family there, to show their support for the opening pitch ... it meant so much to them, this bittersweet thing. I just wanted to give them a hug."
You can hear the award-winning story here.
For more on Treyton's Field of Dreams, visit Treysfield.org.
WHO'S TALKING THE TALK?: Time-Warner is letting the public decide which want-to-be sports talker deserves the chance to sit with Sports 32 Roundtable host Dennis Krause. Two dozen candidates were
selected from the pool of entries, and auditions were tapped. Those auditions are now up for vote on the cable's Wisconsin On Demand channel 411. From now through Aug. 14, each view counts as a vote.
"We were impressed with the local Sports 32 fans that came out to showcase their on-air talents and passion for Wisconsin sports," Mark Strachota, director/ general manger of local programming for Sports 32, said in a statement. "Fans bring a certain unbridled passion to sports discussion and bringing that energy to the show seems natural."
The winner will be announced on Aug. 15.
COMING UP NEXT: HBO announced on Monday that they are renewing "True Blood" and "The Newsroom" for another season. The vampire drama already has a large following, and fans will get at least a sixth season.
"The Newsroom" has only been on air for two weeks, and despite critic backlash, had a healthy launch with 2.1 million households for its premiere.
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