WJFW News Team
John became the News Director at Newswatch12 at the beginning of 2012. He’s returning to Rhinelander to live and work after being away from the Northwoods for more than 40 years.
He graduated from Rhinelander High School, received two journalism degrees from Northwestern University, and worked as a television journalist at WBAY-TV in Green Bay, KSBW-TV in Salinas, CA, KGO-TV in San Francisco, and KOMU-TV in Columbia, MO. He served as a faculty member at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where he taught broadcast journalism.
For the past 20 years, he consulted local TV stations all over the country as a Vice President at Frank N. Magid Associates. His duties focused on using audience research to help local news operations better serve viewers.
John and his wife Karen both grew up in Rhinelander, and are very happy to be back in northern Wisconsin. They love the seasonal changes, the pace of life, the outdoors, the Packers and Badgers, and the sense of fun that they find here. Gardening, grilling, puttering around, snowshoeing, managing trees, looking at wildlife, just enjoying the closeness of the outdoors are things that fill the time with pleasure.
“The opportunity to lead and manage this team in this place is wonderful,” says John. “We’ll do all we can to keep the focus on local people and communities, and to be a unique source for sharing useful news and information for everyone who lives here.”
A native of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, Ben joined the Newswatch 12 team in February 2012.
Ben started his broadcasting career in radio, working in the sports department of WIBA radio in Madison, Wisconsin. He had a chance to cover the Badgers, Packers, and high school sports.
Ben is and has always been a Badger, graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 with a degree in Political Science. During college, Ben worked in the Wisconsin State Assembly, serving in multiple legislative offices. After graduation, he interned with CBS News in Washington, DC.
Covering news and events relevant to the people of the Northwoods in an interesting and entertaining manner is Ben’s continuing goal. He delights in the opportunities to meet and interact with community members both inside and outside of work, so don’t hesitate to say hi!
You can also catch Ben calling play-by-play and writing stories for Rhinelander High School sports on HodagSports.com.
In his spare time, Ben is an avid sports fan and athlete, following the Badgers, Packers, and Brewers, as well as professional golf and tennis. He likes to play basketball, golf, baseball, and tennis and train for triathlons. Ben also officiates college and high school basketball and baseball. He enjoys historical reading (especially surrounding the American Revolution), watching sitcoms of questionable quality, and traveling.
10 PM Anchor, Producer, Reporter
Lyndsey Stemm joined WJFW in September 2011 as a reporter. She came from Chicago where she went to Columbia College and interned at WMAQ.
Lyndsey was born in Kansas City, but grew up in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. She spent most of her life coming to the Northwoods for vacations at her parents’ home on Wildcat Lake in Boulder Junction.
While in Chicago, Lyndsey studied journalism as well as anthropology and history. She’ll always consider herself a lifelong student because she still can’t get enough of history.
After graduation she stayed in Chicago to work in the communications department of a non-profit civil rights organization.
Lyndsey’s other interests include music, ballet and reading. She’ll read just about anything from Harry Potter to the history of ancient Egypt.
Lyndsey is also a passionate traveler and there’s no corner of the world she wouldn’t enjoy seeing. She’s been to Europe and the Middle East, especially enjoying Jerusalem, and has had many amazing experiences while living in Egypt to study Arabic. Lyndsey grew up wanting to be a journalist so she could share the world we live in with others.
Lyndsey’s excited to be living in the Northwoods; she has such fond memories of the area and can’t wait to make some new ones!
5 PM & 6 PM Anchor & News Reporter
Lex Gray joined WJFW in December 2011 as a reporter.
Lex comes to the Northwoods from Minnesota, where she was born and raised. She graduated with scholastic distinction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism and business. Lex interned at Madison Magazine and NBC-15, volunteered at area schools, and spent a semester abroad in Wollongong, Australia. After school, Lex headed to South Korea where she taught English, volunteered at a women’s shelter, and hiked the three highest peaks in the country.
After a year of globe-trotting, Lex is excited to be back in the Midwest. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, cooking, skiing and reading.
Lex is always happy to hear from viewers. If you have any story ideas or just want to say “hi,” email her at email@example.com.
Hayley joined WJFW in January 2013 as a reporter.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater where she ran track and field (her specialty is the high jump) and she studied journalism. While at the UW-Whitewater Hayley was actively involved with the campus station, UWW-TV where she produced, and announced for UW-Whitewater sports. Hayley interned with the American Heart Association and most recently at WISC News 3 in Madison. Her favorite experience was covering the 2012 Presidential election.
Hayley loves the outdoors, whether it’s running, biking, skiing or snowmobiling. She also loves anything to do with music and loves playing the piano and singing.
Hayley would love to share your story or experiences, so if you have any story ideas or just want to say hello, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shardaa joined the Newswatch 12 team in January 2013 as a reporter.
She originates from the Chicagoland area and is quickly learning about snowmobiling, ice fishing and all of the other wonderful things the Northwoods has to offer. Before she started, Shardaa jumped into a freezing lake with her co-workers for a good cause.
Shardaa graduated in 2010 from Columbia College in Chicago with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. While in school she interned at Kurtis Production and WMAQ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Chicago. Briefly after her intership with WMAQ, she was hired to work on the assignment desk. Her titles were desk assistant, production assistant and field producer. Shardaa spent more than two years at WMAQ.
In her spare time, she loves to read a good book, watch movies, try new restaurants as well as new recipes in her kitchen, biking, horseback riding and exercising. Shardaa is a member of the National Association of Black Journalist. Before coming up to the Northwoods, she was a mentor for Global Girl Media. She helped young minority girls develop their shooting and writing skills, as well as being more assertive with interviewing people.
Shardaa would love to share your stories or experience. If you have any story ideas or just want to say hello please email her at email@example.com
Adam Fox joined WJFW in June 2013 as a reporter.
Adam comes to the Northwoods from Indiana, where he was born and raised. He graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Ball State University where he studied journalism, telecommunications and marketing. Adam interned at WISH-TV in Indianapolis for two summers and shot Friday football games during the high school season.
Adam is an extreme political junky. He also loves covering news events from the local to the national level. He enjoys reading political and history books, while also trying to be a successful outdoorsman.
In his spare time, loves watching movies, eating food and meeting new people. He likes to play basketball, golf, and baseball, as well as watch his hometown professional sports teams. His heroes are Abraham Lincoln, Colin Powell and Peyton Manning.
Adam is always happy to hear from viewers. If you have any story ideas, good history books to recommend or just want to say “howdy,” email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you see him inside or outside of work, don’t hesitate to say hello!
Lauren joined Newswatch 12 in June 2013 as a reporter. She grew up in Glencoe, Illinois. Lauren is a 2013 graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She majored in American Studies and minored in Literary and Cultural Studies. During her four years as an undergraduate, Lauren created, produced and hosted TribeUpdate, a newsmagazine show, and The Flat Hat Insider, a joint production between The Flat Hat Newspaper and William and Mary Television. Lauren also produced and hosted segments for ESPNU’s Campus Connection on William and Mary’s mascot search.
During the spring and summer of 2011, Lauren interned at the NBC News Washington bureau for Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell. She contributed to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, NBC’s Nightly News, Today Show, the Dateline special “Taking the Hill: Inside Congress,” and wrote frequently for MSNBC.com’s First Read political blog. In August 2011, Lauren travelled to Iowa in her role as youth political correspondent for Comcast Newsmakers. There she interviewed presidential candidates and other notable politicians.
Lauren is no stranger to WJFW. She twice interned for Newswatch 12, and is thrilled to be back. Her family has strong roots in the Northwoods. Lauren’s great-grandparents met in Conover, and her family has had a home in the Northwoods for over 95 years.
In her spare time, Lauren enjoys watching hockey (she’s a loyal Chicago Blackhawks fan), keeping up with the latest political news, scouring interior design blogs, spending time with her family and friends, and reading biographies. She also enjoys the occasional reality TV show.
After spending four years in Virginia, Lauren looks forward to experiencing a real winter. She hopes to snowmobile for the first time this winter.
Lauren would love to hear from you! Whether it’s a simple “hello” or a story idea, shoot her an email email@example.com.
Kalia joined the Newswatch 12 team in September 2013 as a reporter.
Originally from the east coast, Kalia is excited to experience her first Midwest winter in the Northwoods.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Kalia graduated from Spelman College, the #1 Historically Black College in the nation. Graduating with international honors from Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society, Kalia pursued a Bachelors’ Degree in English with a concentration in Journalism.
Before joining the Newswatch 12 team, Kalia was invited to participate in the Hyperlocal Newsroom Academy at New York University. There, she produced a live broadcast and anchored a segment on fitness and health—two things she is passionate about. Kalia blogged for the Huffington Post for more than 2 years.
After spending the summer in New York City, Kalia was offered an internship with Channel 2 Action News in Atlanta. After working with WSB-TV, Kalia went on to work at the CNN Headquarters.
When she’s not looking for the next story, Kalia enjoys working out, baking, spending time with her family and friends, listening to new music, watching TV, and blogging.
Kalia loves to talk! Don’t hesitate to email her with story ideas, or just to say “hello” at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan McKinney joined WJFW in September as a reporter.
Dan was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Temple University where he studied journalism. While at Temple, Dan interned at WCAU – NBC 10, and KYW, CBS 3. He also interned with Philadelphia's Major League soccer team, The Philadelphia Union, where his productions included the stadium "pump-up" videos played during games.
While in college, Dan was involved in the campus news show, “Temple Update.” He covered Temple’s first bowl game appearance in 30 years. His work aired on ESPN and ESPNU. Dan was honored for his work multiple times during college with journalism awards from Temple University and the Hearst Journalism Foundation.
Since middle school Dan has had a deep passion for telling people's stories through video. During high school Dan earned several Mid – Atlantic Student Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. One of his earliest on air experiences was a frequent spot Dan produced for his school called "Sixty Seconds With Danny McKinney". Dan also volunteered for many years at his local public television station where he was involved in all aspects of productions.
When Dan is not covering the news he enjoys skiing, playing tennis, and engaging in most any active sport. Most of all he loves exploring new places and meeting new people with his camera.
Dan would love to hear from viewers with ideas of places, people, and the Northwood's activities he should explore with his camera. Email him anytime at email@example.com.
Matt joined WJFW back in February of 2008 as Weekend Meteorologist, was promoted to Morning Meteorologist in May of 2008 and has been Chief Meteorologist since September of 2010.
Matt graduated in May of 2007 from the University of North Dakota with B.S. degrees in Atmospheric Sciences and Environmental Geography. During his years in North Dakota, Matt was involved with several campus weather and news shows including Prairie Weather Update, River Watch, UND Weather Update and Studio One in which he worked as a forecaster, producer, anchor and feature reporter.
Matt grew up in Eden Prairie, a suburb of Twin Cities in Minnesota, but is a cheesehead at heart and has the Packer Jerseys to prove it! He's considered the Northwoods his second home since childhood as his family’s roots are from all across the Northwoods and Central Wisconsin. In fact his grandparents are Weather Watchers for the evening shows on Newswatch 12!
Believe it or not, Matt equates his move to the Northwoods as a move to the tropics as the winters in North Dakota can be cold, long, but exciting! While living in Grand Forks, Matt honed his forecasting skills with a wide range of weather including frequent blizzards, record setting cold of -43°F (-70° with the wind chill) and snirt (combination of snow & dirt)!
Matt enjoys fishing and hunting during the summer & fall and skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing when the snow begins to fall. He looks forward to living in the Northwoods and exploring what Northern Wisconsin has to offer!
Morning Meteorologist, Reporter
Ryan Michaels was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida. He has been a Florida resident all of his life until he joined the WJFW team in January of 2011 as a Weekend Meteorologist and Reporter.
When Ryan was growing up he first learned of his interests in meteorology at a young age. He remembers a local meteorologist giving a presentation to his third grade class, and how awesome it would be to be able to “predict the future” by telling someone what the weather will be like a few days in advance. He then became enthralled with hurricanes, tracking and attempting to forecast their path, earning him the nickname Weatherman among friends. He would hope the hurricanes would come his way because enough rain would flood his neighborhood and school, closing it for the day, giving him the day off.
Ryan graduated from The Florida State University in May of 2008, earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology. He spent most of his college years with WFSU-4FSU Weather where his broadcasting dreams came to life. After graduating he briefly pursued another passion, but maintained his dream of broadcasting by volunteering with WFSU and WCTV, where he soon realized he was born to forecast!
Ryan enjoys all forms of competition, whether it is sports or a simple board game. He is an avid golf enthusiast and cannot wait to see what courses Wisconsin and the Northwoods have to offer. Some of his favorite things to do are cook, workout, or root on one of his beloved sports teams.
Ryan is enjoying his new environment saying, “Feel free to contact me with any story ideas or exciting things to experience in the Northwoods”
Melissa Constanzer joined the WJFW team as the weekend meteorologist in October of 2012. This is Melissa’s first time in the Great Lakes region.
Born and raised outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Melissa always was fascinated by the weather that surrounded her. As she got older, she noticed how weather impacts everyone’s life each day and decided to attend The Pennsylvania State University for Meteorology.
During her time at Penn State, Melissa absorbed as much as she could about the weather. She took extra classes such as advanced weather forecasting and a graduate level tropical meteorology class which added to her meteorology degree.
In addition to course work, Melissa was also involved in several clubs while at Penn State. She did frequent video productions for the Campus Weather Service and was also invited to be a student, on-camera forecaster for Weather World which airs each weeknight across Pennsylvania. Melissa was the Community Outreach Chair for Penn State’s AMS chapter. She loved being able to organize community events such as elementary school visits during which she got to teach kids about the weather.
Melissa also spent a summer in Atlantic City, New Jersey where she interned under the chief meteorologist at WMGM NBC-40. The following summer, she worked as the weekend evening meteorologist at WBRE, NBC’s Wilkes-Barre affiliate.
When she is not studying the weather, Melissa enjoys spending time outside. Her favorite pastimes include running, downhill skiing, and swimming, in addition to spending time with family and friends.
Joe joined the Newswatch 12 sports team in July 2011 as the Sports Director.
Before coming to the Northwoods, Joe was the Weekend Sports Anchor at KBJR in Duluth, MN. Joe's resume includes working at WFRV in Green Bay, WDIO in Duluth, and WTCH radio in Shawano.
Joe has always had a passion for sports, especially football, hockey, and golf. Joe is a 2005 graduate from UW-Oshkosh with a B.S. degree in Radio/TV/Film. During his college days, he was the Sports Director for the university's radio station twice.
A native of Frog Station, WI (near Green Bay), Joe grew up watching the Packers, Brewers, and Bucks. In fact he also lists listening to old Packer radio braodcasts among his hobbies. Recently, Joe married his fiancee Amy.
When he is not watching or playing sports, he's likely reading or watching something on the American Civil War, or World War II.
Joe says,"In just a short time, I have really been made to feel right at home, thanks to the great folks in the Northwoods."
If you see Joe out on a shoot, please feel free to say hi and email any story ideas you may have.
Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter
Marisa Silvas joined the Newswatch 12 sports team in October 2011 as the Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter.
Prior to coming to WJFW, she was an editor/associate producer for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area in San Francisco, CA. She also was a freelance field producer for NBC's Football Night in America and spent 6 years as a sports producer and editor for KNTV, the Bay Area’s NBC affiliate where she co-hosted a weekly Sports Sunday web show with Jerry Rice.
She graduated with a degree in Communications from Santa Clara University.
Marisa is new to the Northwoods and the cold weather but has lived in several different locations on her journey to Rhinelander. Coming from a family with military ties, she was born in Austin, TX, but also grew up in Mississippi, Lancaster, CA, San Antonio, TX before settling down in Campbell, CA for the past several years.
Marisa has always had a passion for sports and people and has followed her dreams to WJFW after pursuing a full time on-air job for several years.
Marisa likes all sports but is most passionate about the NFL, NBA and major league baseball. Since she has lived in many different locations her favorite teams are all over the country as well. You will see her following her favorites: the San Antonio Spurs, Oakland Athletics and yes, Packers fans, sorry, the Chicago Bears.
She is also an avid fantasy sports fan and has participated in fantasy football and hockey leagues the past 5 seasons. Feel free to ask her for the hot waiver wire pickup!
She and her husband of 4 years, Lyndon, have taken several vacations over the past few summers to visit all the MLB parks...she has now been to 14 and is excited to add Target Field to the list this summer! Her favorites so far are Wrigley, PNC and Miller Park. She and her husband also make an annual trek to Soldier Field to watch their beloved Bears and hang out in their favorite city, where they got engaged at the top of the Hancock Tower in 2007.
In her free time, she loves hanging out with her husband Lyndon and adorable puggle Walter. She also never misses her favorite TV show, Dancing With The Stars and with an extensive dancing background, someday dreams of being a future celebrity contestant and winner!
Marisa is very excited to be making the big move from sunny California to the winter wonderland of Rhinelander! If you see Marisa out in the field or around the town, feel free to say hi and buy her a hot chocolate, she's probably cold!