Fox59 anchor looks back on decades of journalism

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From the age of 15, Fanchon Stinger knew she wanted to be a journalist.

Her ambitions began when she was researching for a career presentation in high school. Flipping through a book, she came across a section on journalism. When she read this, she felt “a little twinkle deep in (her) soul”.

“At 15, I didn’t know what it was,” she said in an interview with IndyStar. “But…it was God (igniting) in me what he had designed for me, and the gifts he had placed in me that I didn’t even realize I had.”

After nearly 30 years on television, Stinger is going their separate ways in mid-May. She is currently the 5, 6, 7 and 10 p.m. newscaster for Fox59.

Stinger grew up in Detroit. Her parents always encouraged Stinger and her sister “to be everything they could be.”

Her parents and grandparents had to break down barriers in their lives — her father was her town’s first black valedictorian — and Stinger said their encouragement gave her a foundation of faith that she carried with her throughout. throughout his life and career.

“They were very intentional to send the message to us that you are not a victim, no matter what anyone says about you,” she said. “…You are a winner. You can do anything. Why? Because God says we are all equal.”

After the career presentation, Stinger caught up with Mort Crim, the iconic Detroit news anchor who inspired the movie “Anchorman.” She said he gave her advice on how to “maintain her faith and have an impactful career”.

Stinger had to overcome his naturally introverted nature to be on television. She overcame her natural shyness by realizing her passion was bigger than her fear, she said.

“I still struggle (with) some of those things, of course, but I’m so passionate about those two things, the community, bringing people together, inspiring people, challenging things that are wrong, that this is become so much more important,” she said. mentioned.

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After leaving Fox 2 News of Detroit, WJBK, where she worked for years, Stinger had started her own company and was doing video and media work for Department of Defense contractors when she was offered the job as an evening news anchor in Indianapolis in 2010. At first she was hesitant, but when she visited the city, something clicked.

“I felt like God was saying, ‘You’re supposed to be in Indianapolis,'” she said. “I had made a promise to the Lord at that point in my life that I would never move in any direction He told me to move.”

She took the job and moved to Indianapolis a few weeks later, “totally on faith.”

After nearly 12 years with Fox59, Stinger has told a variety of stories: those that celebrate joy and those that contain untold pain. In 2017, she worked on a story that brought together the police and family members of unsolved murder victims in conversation, which is one of her fondest memories. Stinger said she always tries to build relationships and connect with communities when telling stories.

“There have been people who have been through horrible things who have trusted me to tell their stories because they knew I would tell them honestly and tell them with compassion, and I took that as a huge responsibility,” she said. “I never meant to break anyone’s trust. I never meant to misrepresent anything.”

‘A real friend’

Ryan Ermanni, host of “The Nine” on Fox 2 News in Detroit, says he owes Stinger credit for helping him land his first job.

In 1999, Ermanni was a student at the University of Michigan with the dream of getting into sports journalism. When Stinger was on campus covering a story, he approached her — having never spoken to her before — and asked if the station offered internships.

She spoke with him and eventually reached out to Fox 2’s athletic director, and “basically set up an internship” for Ermanni that summer.

“She took this stranger who was coming to see her on the street, listened to what I had to say, gave me her number,” he said. “I followed her and she started my career.”

The two stayed in touch over the years and remained close friends. The three words Ermanni associates with Stinger are “strength, leadership and compassion”.

“Through those three things, she has the ability to connect with the audience,” he said. “Every anchor in this business, their goal is to be a trusted servant of the public, basically, to hope that the public trusts what they say. And the only way to get that is if you’re genuine , if you really care , if you have compassion and connectivity with the public, and she was able to have those things.

Fox59 investigative reporter Courtney Crown said Stinger took her under his wing as a “big sister” when she first moved to Indianapolis in 2019. Stinger eventually invited Crown to come to his church, and they eventually joined the same small group.

“We really had a friendship built both on faith and on a professional level as well,” she said.

Crown added that Stinger was a “true friend” to her.

“I hope what viewers take away is when she told viewers she cared about them or prayed for them…She really meant it,” she said.

‘A big thank-you’

Beairshelle Edmé, current anchor for the 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. hours on Fox59, will replace Stinger as the evening news anchor at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

As for his next steps, Stinger will run his foundation, “Grit & Grace Nation,” full-time. The nonprofit seeks to empower young women “to be leaders with courage, courage, and grace in all that they do while always respecting faith, family, and freedom.”

“It’s funny because now I feel like it’s come full circle,” she said, “Because it’s the same feeling that God says, ‘Now it’s time to make you play a greater national role.’ … I go into that next sentence with the same faith that I walked into Indianapolis with and I know it’s going to be amazing.”

The organization is aligned with Professional Bull Riders, with which Stinger is the first black woman to own competition bulls that compete in PBR’s first round, according to Andrew Giangola, vice president of strategic communications at PBR.

Stinger has been “overwhelmed” with support from the Indianapolis community and Fox59 viewers since announcing her departure on April 13.

“I was absolutely humbled by the outpouring of love and people sharing the little things that sometimes I couldn’t even remember,” Stinger said.

Her last day on the air will be May 10, she said in a social media post announcing her departure. And she will leave Indianapolis, although she declined to say where she would move.

Stinger said she wanted to leave Indianapolis with “a big thank you.”

“Thank you for welcoming me like family,” she said. “Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for inspiring me. And I just hope that some of the hope and compassion and love that people have allowed me to share, they will carry it forever and will continue to love our neighbor and serve others.”

Reach IndyStar Trending Reporter Claire Rafford at crafford@gannett.com or on Twitter @clairerafford.

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