Eric D. Hanson ’96

A tall redhead, Eric Hanson is used to standing out in a crowd. But instead of being the one drawing attention, he uses his talent as a journalist to tell the stories of others who are standing out in their own way.

As a student at Wartburg in the mid-1990s, Eric was active with Wartburg Choir, Wartburg Television, and student government, serving as student body president as a senior. Upon graduation from Wartburg in 1996 with a degree in electronic media and public relations, Eric’s television news career began at WEAU-TV in Eau Claire, Wis. He returned to the Cedar Valley as a reporter for KWWL-TV in Waterloo, pulling double-duty for a year as an adjunct professor at his alma mater alongside the professors he had learned so much from in the Department of Communication Arts. In 2000, Eric joined KCCI-TV in Des Moines, the market-leading station he watched while growing up in rural central Iowa.

He has served as a morning news anchor for KCCI since 2014, a high-profile position where his news sense and empathy shine. While some stay moored to the anchor desk, Eric gets outside the office often to report. As the originator of the weekly This Is Iowa series, he shares the stories of folks across Iowa doing what they do best. For his feature writing and reporting skills, Eric has received five national Edward R. Murrow awards, five national Society of Professional Journalists awards, a National Headliner award, six Emmys, and dozens of regional and statewide honors.

Eric uses his talent to lift up and tell the stories of those who are leading and serving in the state and beyond, even going great distances to do so. He traveled to South Africa, following donated meals packed by Meals for the Heartland volunteers to their destination, explaining their benefit to viewers back home. A prestigious Upper Midwest Board of Governors Emmy Award this fall recognized Eric’s work on the special program “Decade of Honor,” which recapped 10 years of Honor Flights that transport Iowa veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials that honor their military service.

Eric’s reporting stands out because his heart is part of his style, and he is constantly learning from the people he meets. “His compassion for people combined with excellent journalism shows in his work,” wrote a nominator. Eric also takes time to present to civic groups, spreading the stories of others even further.

Eric is a longtime member of Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines. He performs as part of a men’s quintet in the church, inspiring others through music. He also volunteers as a host for the church’s weekend livestream service, using his on-camera skills to reach those who worship online.