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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Eric Kahnert

Class of 2002, Bachelor's

Eric Kahnert is an Emmy award winning anchor and reporter, and a familiar face to Colorado news viewers.  He’s excited to be back in Denver to help lead the 7NEWS team.

Before joining 7NEWS, Eric was the primary anchor for KSTP, the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis/St. Paul. In his first year in the market, Eric was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best News Anchor.

From 2009 to 2012, Eric became well known to Coloradans for his award winning work at KUSA, Denver’s NBC affiliate.  Eric won an Emmy for a 2-part series exposing unemployment fraud and problems within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.  After uncovering $158 million in improper payments, and $6 million in fraudulent payments in one year, Eric’s story prompted the Department of Labor to add investigators and staff working on fraudulent claims. His field anchoring from the Occupy Denver Movement earned him an Emmy nomination for Best Anchor. Eric anchored hours of continuous live coverage on two of the most destructive and deadly wildfires in Colorado’s history. He also anchored live from the scene of the Aurora Movie Theater Shooting, interviewing family members of the victims after earning their trust, and gaining access to witnesses.

Eric has also repeatedly been recognized for his reporting strengths, including an Emmy nomination for Best Live Reporter in Colorado. He’s also received numerous first place awards for his stories from state journalism organizations. Eric’s live reports have been featured extensively on Dateline NBC and CNN. In a lighter investigation that also earned an Emmy nomination, Eric went undercover in the lunch line at a local elementary school to find out how well mannered Colorado children are.

Eric also has a pulse on the political beat.  He’s been chosen for one-on-one interviews with presidential candidates and secured the first interview with John Hickenlooper when he was elected Colorado’s Governor.

While working as an anchor and reporter for KOB in Albuquerque, NM, Eric became known as a trusted, credible, and well-sourced crime reporter. Both law enforcement and criminals were aware of Eric’s beat.  He not only gained exclusive access inside drug busts, raids and sting operations, but New Mexico’s worst serial killer called only Eric while on the run from police. Shortly after that lengthy phone conversation, the suspect was found in Texas. Eric received national attention for his non-stop coverage on the 2009 West Mesa Murder Investigation in Albuquerque. His reports were featured on Dateline NBC. Considered to be one of the largest crime scenes in American history, eleven shallow graves with the remains of missing prostitutes were found on a 100 acre plot of land on Albuquerque’s dusty west side.  Eric routinely broke new developments, gained exclusive interviews in the case, and was the first reporter to talk to the woman whose dog found a femur bone. That finding launched the massive crime scene and investigation into the search for a serial killer. Eric’s own investigation pinpointed a likely suspect who had been killed a few years earlier. Police admit that man is still considered one of the most likely suspects in the still unsolved case.

Eric holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California. He was a three-year Captain of USC’s Division II hockey team, and was the University’s first All-American player (no, not all of Eric’s teeth are real).

Eric and his wife have two sons. When Eric is not enjoying quality family time or volunteering in the community, he is playing hockey or attempting to play golf.

Feel free to email Eric with any news tips at [email protected]


What are the top three skills journalism students should learn in college?:

1. Writing 2. Editing 3. Interviewing

What were your duties at ATVN? :

Anchor, Reporter, Editor, Photographer

How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

ATVN gave me real world experience, and prepared me for the duties I perform everyday. The ATVN staff and journalism professors gave me the skills to be successful in a small market news station, and quickly move into the larger markets. ATVN taught me to push myself to be the best and always be willing to learn new things.  Knowing how to write, shoot and edit in college still benefits me today.

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

Work on your storytelling ability. Put yourself in the shoes of the viewer and ask, “What would make this story interesting?” Humanize your stories, so viewers can relate to what you are saying.  Don’t throw facts and numbers at someone without explaining how it will affect them. Work on your writing and be conversational. Every time you look into
that camera you should feel as if you are simply holding a conversation with your viewer. Tell your story visually as well; sequence and the pace of pictures are just as important as the words over them. Remember, TV is a visual medium; therefore, work on your editing skills. Listen to your instructors; they know what they’re talking about. 

What should graduates keep in mind when negotiating their first job?:

Don’t do it for the money, do it for the experience. Make sure you understand your contract’s “outs” and the small print. Find out how the other employees like their positions, and WHERE some of the other people in that position have gone. Be sure to understand the duties of the position before signing. Make sure you will have opportunities to move up or try new positions to gain experience; it will make yourself more marketable. 

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