The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 7, 2011

KEYC weekend anchor's broadcast captures national attention

MANKATO — A few months ago a reporter at KEYC television news drew national attention for a feel-good story about a dad who did the right thing after one of his twin sons won $50,000 while pretending to be his brother.

Now the station’s weekend anchor is drawing national attention on the Internet, but her story isn’t as warm and fuzzy.

Annie Stensrud was on the main page of the Huffington Post’s Media section Wednesday. The national Internet news source had one of its quick polls next to her name.

The question: “Is this anchor drunk?” The two answers to chose from: “Definitely!” and “No way.”

It was a question loyal KEYC watchers in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa had been asking each other since Sunday night.

The station’s 10 p.m. newscast, which started about 15 minutes late due to a football game, began with a blurry-eyed Stensrud stumbling over her words. Her words became more slurred and mixed up as she read through stories about a new medical center in New Ulm and an event at Farmamerica.

Her broadcast ended abruptly after about three minutes. When news returned after a commercial break, it was filled with weather and sports segments. Stensrud was not seen again and didn’t appear in the closing shot, as she usually does, with meteorologist Mitch Keegan and weekend sports anchor Erick Lind.

The station’s news broadcasts on Monday and Tuesday made no mention of the incident. That changed Wednesday after Stensrud’s segment was loaded on to YouTube and quickly picked up by the Huffington Post and a handful of blogs.

Dan Ruiter, KEYC news director, said viewers are jumping to conclusions if they assume Stensrud was intoxicated. There is no proof of that, he said.

There was another YouTube video that made the rounds in February with a headline suggesting a television journalist reporting live from the Grammy Awards was under the influence. It turned out the woman was suffering from a medical problem on the air.

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