About the Post

Author Information

A born and raised Southern Belle, Rebecca is currently studying at Presbyterian College looking to pursue a career in broadcast journalism as a reporter. An avid blogger, she works with the online newspaper The Hudsucker. She also is a part-time Social Media Marketing Consultant. Rebecca is a proud member of Sigma Sigma Sigma who's philanthropy serves children. Rebecca also has the distinct privilege of working with Sounds of Pertussis where she campaigns about the awareness of Pertussis and it's prevention by the Adult Tdap booster. This honor is done in loving member of her cousin, Landon Carter Dube, who's life was taken too soon from this disease. Rebecca loves her Lord Jesus Christ and enjoys pursuing her passion for telling people's stories!

P.O.W: Dawndy Mercer Plank

In a new series, staff writer Rebecca Rowell puts a spotlight on women in the workforce. P.O.W or Power of Women is a series of interviews with women who are making breakthroughs in their careers and teaching the upcoming generation a few things about woman power. 

Author’s Note: To begin my new series, P.O.W, I considered several people I wanted to be my first profile. My goal with this series is to choose women that will inspire the next generation of women heading into their own personal careers. It then occurred to me that I should share someone that has inspired me in my own journey towards a journalism career. Only one name came to my mind. This individual is someone very special to me that first opened my eyes to what exactly it was that I wanted to do. She reached out to me, took me under her wing and continues to nurture my own personal pursuits. When she took me out on the field or brought me into the studio, it wasn’t things she had to do; but she did them anyway. It’s forever impacted me and it is my privilege to spot light WIS-TV anchor, Dawndy Mercer Plank as my first profile in the P.O.W series.

The Hudsucker: How did you begin your career?

Dawndy Mercer Plank: In high school, I wrote for the school yearbook.  In college, I majored in telecommunications with an emphasis on broadcast news.  I minored in counseling psychology and took many political science classes.  After four years, I did an internship in Washington DC at a news bureau on Capitol Hill.  It was such a perfect way to learn about news in the “real world.”  I put a resume tape together and sent it to about 50 television markets looking for a job reporting.  My first job was as a reporter in Green Bay, Wisconsin starting in 1989.

The Hudsucker: What challenges did you face in the beginning? From people, obstacles, or even stereotypes being a woman?

Plank: I never felt any challenges different from what any fresh-out-of-college student would experience.  You quickly learn there are constant deadlines, numerous demands for your time from viewers and the community in general and that news happens 27/7/365, with those new to the business working the less desirable shifts, including holidays.  I didn’t feel there was any “stereotype” just because I’m a woman. I felt I received every chance to succeed that anyone else did.  It was up to me to work hard and make it happen.  The greatest obstacle was learning to handle the stress in meeting each deadline.  Plus, there’s the constant pressure to get the facts right, get the interviews we need, find stories that no one else has, be creative, and be on top of our game.  In this business, you can’t have a “bad day.”  You always have to have energy and perform at your highest level.  Sometimes, that’s hard and that can be a tough aspect of the job.

(Source: WIS-TV)

(Source: WIS-TV)

The Hudsucker: Who is your greatest inspiration?

Plank: Just anyone who knows working hard is respectable while remaining true to his/her values and beliefs.  I have several people I admire who aren’t even in this industry.

The Hudsucker: How did you decide you wanted to become a journalist?

Plank: In sixth grade, I just KNEW I wanted to be in television.  I would watch the news every night and I always wanted to know what was happening in the world.  I love to write, especially the creative aspect of writing.  To me the English language and grammar are so much fun.  All of that, plus the fact that I love to speak in front of people, makes the perfect combination for being a journalist in television.

The Hudsucker: Describe your typical day as a journalist.

Plank: I read every bit of information I can that is coming into the newsroom.  I have to know a little on a lot of things.  I write all day long.  Plus, I answer hundreds of e-mails a week.  That takes a lot of time.  I get inundated with phone calls from viewers needing more information on stories we’ve run.  I spend a lot of time in the community, as well, as a speaker and representative of the TV station.  Social media has greatly increased the workload daily, as I’m constantly posting to Twitter and Facebook and updating any story in which I’m involved on our website.  Viewers no longer have to wait for the evening news to know the headlines and details.  It’s up to us as journalists to get it out there in various venues the moment we know it.

The Hudsucker: What is the best part of your job?

Plank: I love the people aspect.  Relationships are very important to me, and I love that I get to interview people and learn about their lives.  I also really enjoy being able to find out important information and pass it on to my viewers.  This is especially vital in the area of health.  That’s why I really like being the health and medical anchor.  It’s a great service to the public.  I also treasure the energy in a newsroom.  It’s an environment that’s always buzzing with activity.

(Source: Rebecca Rowell)

(Source: Rebecca Rowell)

The Hudsucker: What advice to you give to other young women who are pursuing your career?

Plank: Start today doing the basic things that will make a difference later.  Always, always, always be on time and do every project thoroughly.  It will pay off later.  Read and watch as much news as possible.  However, it’s super important to be a well-rounded person.  Be involved in the community and know a little bit about everything.   Remember to stay positive.  You’ll have many doors shut in your face.  But you have to be persistent in order to find that one open door which will mean a great career for you.

Connect with Dawndy Mercer Plank on Facebook and Twitter.

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