Sarah Dunlap Burke, a Chicago area native and veteran news producer who began as an intern at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, has been hired as assistant news director at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.
Burke, who most recently has been acting news director at WBZ-TV, the CBS-owned station in Boston, succeeds Janet Hundley, who resigned from ABC 7 in May to become news director of WTMJ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee.
Jennifer Graves, vice president and news director of ABC 7, called Burke “a strong news leader with impressive experience,” adding: “She knows how to own a story, produce a compelling newscast and aggressively cover breaking news. Sarah understands the Chicago market’s love of news because she grew up here, and that’s a great plus for us too.”
Burke’s hiring, effective August 25, counters earlier signals from management that Hundley’s position would be filled by a current or former ABC 7 insider. Richard Maginn, longtime 10 p.m. executive producer who resigned around the same time as Hundley, was thought to be a leading candidate until he withdrew his name from consideration last week.
Burke joined WBZ as assistant news director in 2013 and had been acting news director since last March. Earlier this year, she shared both a George Foster Peabody Award and an Alfred I. DuPont Award for her station’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, which coincided with her first day on the job.
A native of west suburban Elmhurst, Burke graduated from York Community High School and Miami University of Ohio. She previously was an executive producer at WCBS-TV, the CBS-owned station in New York, and KCNC-TV, the CBS-owned station in Denver. She also was a producer at KMGH-TV, ABC affiliate in Denver, and WXIN-TV, the Tribune-owned Fox affiliate in Indianapolis. She started as an intern at WGN in 1998.
Here is the text of the staff memo from Graves:
I’m excited to let you know about our next assistant news director.
Sarah Dunlap Burke will join us next month from WBZ-TV in Boston, where she’s been acting news director. Sarah joined WBZ as assistant news director in April 2013. Her first day on the job was, you guessed it, the day of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Less than a year later, as acting news director she led her newsroom through extensive coverage of the emotional one-year anniversary of the bombing. Sarah has an extensive news background and she’s a Chicago native. She’s an effective leader, knows how to own a big story and aggressively cover breaking news. Sarah’s managed and produced compelling newscasts in a number of markets. Before joining WBZ, Sarah was the late news executive producer at WCBS-TV in New York and executive producer and producer at KCNC-TV in Denver. Her early career stops include producing newscasts at KMGH-TV in Denver and WXIN-TV in Indianapolis. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science from Miami University of Ohio.
As I mentioned, this is a homecoming for Sarah. She has deep roots in this area. She was born and raised in Elmhurst and graduated from York High School. Her extended family lives in the western suburbs and Streeterville. Sarah and her husband are the parents of a young son and they are thrilled to be making their home in Chicago.
Sarah’s first day with us will be August 25. Please join me in welcoming her to the ABC 7 Eyewitness News Team!