He calls himself a behind the scenes guy, but an important part of our KELOLAND News team is about to be in the spotlight. On Saturday, the Upper Midwest Emmy Awards is recognizing our assignment editor, Dexter Gronseth, as an Emmy Silver Circle Honoree. It’s a very prestigious award for journalists. Recipients are chosen based on significant contributions made to the broadcasting industry for 25 years or more.
In the 1980s, two riots broke out at the South Dakota State Penitentiary. Viewers got a look behind the walls, thanks to the man behind the camera. That man was Dexter.
“The first one was with (Steve) Hemmingsen, I was probably a photographer for two years, so I’m green,” Dexter said.
Not anymore. Now he’s inside the Silver Circle.
“The emotion of it. As you know, I’m not on TV. I’m behind the scenes. So, I think it’s a real honor for somebody behind the scenes to receive the award,” Dexter said.
Dexter may not look familiar, but News Director Beth Jensen says his 40-plus years of experience help shape our newscasts.
“When there’s breaking news, I look for Dexter,” Jensen said. “He understands how to get crews to where they need to be, how to get viewers the information they need as quickly as possible.”
The former chief photographer turned assignment editor decides what KELOLAND News covers every day. He was instrumental in getting cameras into state Supreme Court hearings, leaving a lasting impact in South Dakota.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity to show the public how the courts work. Your tax dollars are paying for this,” Dexter said.
Jensen and former anchor Doug Lund say Dexter has earned this award.
“Dexter’s always been curious as long as I’ve known him and hard-working and he’s really dedicated to the job and to doing it right,” Lund said.
Teachers have played a big role in Dexter’s life. He credits working with Steve Hemmingsen and Lund for helping him develop in the news business. Right now, Dexter’s favorite role is teaching and mentoring new generations of journalists.
“He has put so much of himself into KELO. KELO Is KELO because of Dexter and I’m just so happy he has this moment of recognition,” Jensen said.
Accepting this honor means more than just a trophy.
“Knowing that I’ve done a good job. That’s important to me,” Dexter said.
Dexter Gronseth is in the Silver Circle because that’s what happens when someone is worth his weight in gold.