Boyd Huppert keeps western WI stories at the forefront
Popular reporter transitions to new teaching role
KARE-11 news reporter Boyd Huppert is probably the most well-known journalist born and raised in Pierce County.
As Huppert has grown in his career since starting his journey at the University of Wisconsin- River Falls in the early 1980s, he now finds himself transitioning into a new part of his career: Passing on what he has learned to a new generation of journalists.
“I'm working on my Land of 10,000 Stories three days a week, and then two days a week, I'm doing training for the company,” Huppert said. “So like yesterday was my prep day putting together PowerPoints for my Zoom class, and then I went through about 30 assignments last night. That is what we're doing: Training in small bites. Each week, the assignment is to apply the lesson of the week to your next week's worth of stories. And certainly the best one, and I'm going to write a critique.”
Taking on this new teaching role within TEGNA, the company that owns Kare 11, the Twin Cities NBC affiliate, Huppert no longer reports daily or breaking news.
“What I'm not doing anymore is daily news, where I'm getting the call to go cover tanker fires or, you know, live shots along the freeway in the middle of a snowstorm, which I still enjoy doing but I can't do it. I had to give something up to take on this new role,” said Huppert.
The instructional role within TEGNA finds Huppert teaching multiple multimedia journalists at various stations across the country. The focus of these weekly instructional meetings is to enhance and share the different styles of storytelling a multimedia journalist can do in the modern age. As of 2021, TEGNA currently owns or operates 66 television stations in 54 media markets across the United States.
Since Huppert started working at KARE 11 in 1996, the coverage that western Wisconsin has received from its closest major media market, the Twin Cities, has only increased greatly thanks to Huppert’s hometown connections.
“I think that's why it's good to have a diverse newsroom,” said Huppert. “Different people from different geographic areas, people with different philosophies, different faiths, from different cultures. Part of what I bring to that mix
Photo by Theodore Tollefson HUPPERT
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is a good knowledge of western Wisconsin and good knowledge of agriculture. For a long time, I was the only employee at KARE who could have grown up on a farm. We actually hired a couple more recently, two photographers that we've hired in the last two or three years who grew up on a farm. I feel like that's part of what I bring and what I want is to get over to western Wisconsin, cover stories, get there frequently, and look for those opportunities.”
Story opportunities in western Wisconsin come to Huppert, a Prescott High School graduate, frequently from family members, friends, and others in the area who feel their stories can best be shared by Huppert. He always does his best to pursue any news tip that comes his way from Pierce County, and one person who always sees her news tips followed up on is his mother.
“My mom has been a good source of stories over the years because she's always listening,” Huppert said. “So there's something at church and she gives me a call. I did a story a couple years ago that was one of my favorites about two women who were accidentally switched at birth. That was a story she heard about at church, somebody's sister-in-law, I believe, was the one that had done 23andMe. And because they screwed up at the hospital, they're now in their 70s. They found that one of them did 23andMe and got the list of relatives and she doesn't know any. She's not related to anyone, not related to her mom, not related to siblings, you know. Then the search was on to figure out what happened. She found the other woman, took the test, and she lives in the Roberts area. She found out that she was switched over there and they found that they were born the same day and at the same hospital. Somebody screwed up. It's a great story that came from my mom from something she heard at church,” said Huppert.
Huppert visits and spends time with family and friends in Pierce County whenever he gets the chance. Just a few weekends ago, he reconnected with family in town for River Falls Days, and every few years, tries to make it to the Pierce County Fair where he met his wife over 40 years ago while they were still in high school.
Even as Huppert transitions into a more instructive role at TEGNA and KARE 11, he will still pursue news tips from western Wisconsin to include in his Land of 10,000 Stories segments.