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Two longtime local TV news reporters leave their jobs

August 1, 2016

Two longtime Indianapolis television news reporters signed off—for good—on Friday.

Jack_Rinehart_mugJack Rinehart

Senior reporter Jack Rinehart retired after nearly 41 years on the air at WRTV-TV Channel 6. Rinehart primarily worked the late afternoon and evening news shifts.

Twenty-seven-year TV news veteran Kris Kirschner spent the last 19 with WTHR-TV Channel 13. She most recently served as a reporter during the morning news for WTHR and on some weekends.

“Jack has covered the crime beat for us for many, many years, and he will be missed,” WRTV News Director Terri Cope-Walton told IBJ. “He’s covered 2,500 homicides in his time here. That’s a testament of the impact that he’s had here and his legacy.

“From an experience side, he will be very difficult to replace,” she added. “He has a lot of institutional knowledge and has been a tremendous asset here.”

Rinehart, 65, is a South Bend native who graduated from Bradley University in 1973. He began his career with WRAU-TV (now WHOI) in Peoria, Illinois. He later became an investigative reporter and weekend anchor at WRAU before coming to WRTV on Nov. 10, 1975.

Rinehart’s career highlights include an Emmy Award, Associated Press Awards, a CASPER Award, and the Sagamore of the Wabash, given to him by former Indiana Gov. Robert Orr.

Perhaps his biggest story was a scoop in summer 1991 that boxer Mike Tyson was under investigation for the rape of a woman in Indianapolis. He also covered the trial, in which Tyson was convicted.

"That was a circus and I would say that there were more than 300 media representatives from all over the world covering that story, but we on a day-to-day basis led the coverage," Rinehart said in a piece on WRTV that aired Friday.

"I'm retiring with 2,037 names in my phone," he said of his list of news sources. "That's a lot."

Kris_Kirschner_mugKris Kirschner

Kirschner, a 50-year-old native of Indianapolis’ south side, is departing WTHR to become the public relations and media relations strategist at Community Health Network. She starts there Aug. 15, she said.

“This was completely my decision,” Kirschner told IBJ. “This is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make.

“I am excited about this opportunity at Community,” she added. “I’m excited about this new challenge and adding to my skills. I feel like I’ll still be able to tell some great stories and add to the community.”

In a Facebook post from July 29 announcing her departure from Channel 13, Kirschner said she had mixed emotions.

“I’ve had some amazing, wonderful, disappointing, frustrating, joyful, unique experiences. It's not always been easy. But it's always been interesting. And the people I've met and worked with along the way, made me better at what I do, and who I am. I just felt it was time to try something new."

She has a daughter, Kathryn, 9, and a son, Wyatt, 8.

“Life goes by so fast," she said on Facebook. "And my kids are growing so fast. And I want to be able to spend as much time with them as I can while they still want me to. Plus sometimes change is good. It's how we grow. And I just feel at this time in my life, that's what I need.”

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