ThreeSixty Alumni Spotlight: Sara Pelissero: From budding journalist to multimedia producer at KARE 11

ONE DAY HER TOPIC could be politics. The next it could be National Donut Day.

For journalist Sara Pelissero, you just never know. Pelissero juggles all sorts of stories as a multimedia producer for KARE 11, writing for the station’s broadcasts and website and post­ing the latest news on social media.

It’s a busy lifestyle Pelissero could have only imagined during her junior year of high school at Mounds View when she started her journalism career with the Urban Journalism Workshop, the precursor to ThreeSixty Journalism before it was rebranded in the early 2000s.

Already successful with her high school newspaper, Pelissero had considered but not settled on journalism in her future. However, in what she called her “journalism awaken­ing” with ThreeSixty, Pelissero began to see a future career and her potential.

“I remember going to different newsroom tours back then and just thinking, ‘Wow this is really cool,’” Pelissero said. “It seemed like a dream job.”

Pelissero majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, interning at newspapers along the way. After she gradu­ated in 2007, she worked as a reporter for the Green Bay Press-Gazette, but eventually began to wonder about other kinds of story­telling. When a friend told her about a website producer position at WCCO, she was initially unsure if it would suit her. But she took a chance and started in 2009.

“It was the first time that I ever thought about TV,” Pelissero said. “But it also was kind of this state and this time in journalism where writing for a newspaper and writing for a TV website is very similar and there aren’t a ton of differences.”

With a penchant for the innovative side of the field, Pelissero later left her job with WCCO to take on her current multimedia position with KARE. She also serves on ThreeSixty Journalism’s Board of Advisors and recently has been involved with ThreeSixty’s new alumni initiative, AlumniConnect.

In a world where crazy hours are called another day’s work, the hard-working attitude Pelissero developed from striving to get a job is the same attitude she brings to her job today.

“Being in this news grind,” Pelissero said, “it is that feeling of never ending. There’s always news, and there’s never holidays. There’s no such thing as weekends really. It doesn’t stop. Sometimes when you’re trying to balance a family life with that, it can be challenging.”

Her husband, Tom, also is a journalist. He covers the NFL for USA Today.

With such constraining aspects of the job, it might be difficult at first to understand why Pelissero is so in love with her job. But she loves the excitement and the atmosphere of being in the field. A desk job just wouldn’t cut it.

“Sometimes there are just crazy breaking news stories that happen,” she said. “I would say that’s where my adrenaline kicks in, and those are just huge highs for me as a journalist.

“Being able to craft those stories, finding out what’s important to people on a given day, and then finding the best ways to bring them that information while being relevant, while being reliable and consistent and credible, those are daily challenges. That’s part of the fun.”