If television news personalities are measured by the influence of their reporting on the community, then KY3 Inc.’s Sara Forhetz is among the top.
Her stories have warned area families and drug centers about deadly chemicals popularized as “bath salts,” exposed the depth of the city’s homeless population, alerted homeowners to a string of robberies in broad daylight and informed parents of the environmental and financial benefits of advanced cloth diapers.
But the pinnacle for her is an investigative report that led to the closure of fraudulent Springfield auto dealer Excel Auto Group.
“The owner was rolling back odometers by hundreds of thousands of miles,” she says of her discovery in June that led the state attorney general to shut down the operation. “It was weeks of research and investigating. To know others won’t be ripped off by this company because of the work I put in is extremely satisfying.”
A KY3 reporter since 2005, Forhetz has been nominated for five Midwest Emmy Awards, one of the highest honors in the TV news industry. A testament to her work at the station, KY3 managers agreed to Forhetz’s request to go part time after having children – a rarity in the industry.
“Many of my female peers leave the long hours of television news once they decide to have children. I, however, was determined to find a way to do both,” she says.
“My work ethic, attitude and rapport with viewers was valuable enough to my bosses that they wanted to keep me as an employee.”
Now, she works part-time, and she and her husband, a fellow KY3 employee, anchor Ethan Forhetz, have a third child on the way.
Still, she makes time to speak to young women – like the troubled teens at the Delmina Woods Youth Facility in Forsyth, where she recently shared her experiences growing up with her dad in prison in hopes of encouraging the group to a better future.
She also takes seriously her work with newsroom interns, being transparent with them about a career in TV news.
“You start out at very little pay, extremely long hours and in an environment where it feels like every man for himself. Television news … requires that you have thick skin,” she says.
Considering her mother’s battle with multiple sclerosis, Forhetz is active with the Multiple Sclerosis Society and rode in the annual MS 150 bike ride fundraiser.
She also helps March of Dimes’ efforts to ensure the health of newborns. As a three-year board member, she’s served as emcee for several fundraisers and for the March of Dimes auction solicited auction items from area businesses to raise money for the cause.
“Many news personalities get asked to emcee events, but what sets me apart is that I get involved beyond just speaking on stage,” she says.Click here for full coverage of the 2013 40 Under 40.