Former WKBN news director passes away

Hanson led the newsroom at WKBN from 1984 to 1997 and then went on to teach at Kent State University

Former WKBN News Director Gary Hanson has passed away.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Former WKBN News Director Gary Hanson has died.

Hanson died Thursday, almost seven years after first being diagnosed with cancer.

He led the newsroom here at WKBN from 1984 to 1997. He then went on to become an instructor at Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where he was a favorite among students.

Hanson earned Kent State’s most prestigious teaching honor, the Distinguished Teaching Award. In a nomination letter, a former student wrote, “I still hear (Gary’s) voice in my head every time I write a story.”

During his 18-year tenure, he taught Broadcast Beat Reporting – a class for broadcast journalism majors that he fondly called, “the class you came to Kent State to take.” He also taught Reporting Public Affairs; Media, Power and Culture; and more.

He cherished the time he spent with students, advising TV2, the student-run television station, from 1999 to 2008 and from 2015 until his retirement in 2016.

Hanson also pioneered study abroad opportunities for journalism and mass communication students. Through the International Storytelling course, students were able to travel to more than six countries and three continents.

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