Diederich College of Communication Award Recipients
James T. Tiedge Memorial
MELISSA BRUNNER BROWN, COMM '94
As news anchor for WIBW-TV — the CBS affiliate in Topeka, Kan. — Melissa Brunner Brown works a lot of hours, most of which have little to do with the hours that fall between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. At least to the eyes of the public.
That’s because Melissa anchors the “Live at 5” newscast and co-anchors the 13 News at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Her professors prepared her for the rigor.
“My Marquette broadcasting professors taught me: ‘You will work weekends. You will work nights. You will work holidays. And you will like it!’ They were right.”
That lesson fresh on her mind, Melissa graduated and went to work as a producer for WFRV-TV in Green Bay, Wis. Soon after, she moved to Topeka and WIBW-TV, where she hosted the weekly “To your health” feature and covered crime, the legislature and many other topics.
Despite the crazy hours of her not-so-9-to-5 job, Melissa still finds time to be actively involved in several area organizations and events: the YWCA of Topeka’s Week Without Violence, American Cancer Society, Topeka Organ Transplant Organization’s Run for Life and Race Against Breast Cancer.
She also puts her public persona — and notable microphone voice — to good use as local co-emcee for the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
In 2010, Melissa served as a campaign ambassador for the United Way of Greater Topeka and also was among the inaugural class of greater Topeka’s “20 under 40,” which honors community leaders under 40 for their positive influence through community service. But that’s not the only award she has to her name. Melissa also received a YWCA Vision of Peace Award and the Capper Foundation’s Media Award. And her reporting has earned her numerous awards, too: from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, Kansas City Press Club and Kansas Associated Press.
For Thanksgiving 2010, Melissa and her husband, WIBW chief photographer Doug Brown, produced a half-hour special called “Children of Hope,” which focused on homeless children and families staying at the Topeka Rescue Mission. “Meeting the children at the Topeka mission, I was again reminded how the face of homelessness could be any one of ours at any time,” she says. “I am grateful for what I have and grateful our community has a place to offer these families a helping hand.”