The Max Pickerill Lecture Series has announced the second speaker of the year is Michael Schwanke, anchor and investigative reporter at KWCH-12 in Wichita.  Schwanke anchors Eyewitness News at 5 p.m. and the 9 p.m. news on KSCW.   He is also a Fact Finder 12 Investigator.  The event will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 14, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Cultural Arts Center located on the southeast corner of campus.  

Max Pickerill Lecture Series Features Wichita News Anchor on Oct. 14

Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 08:56 AM

The Max Pickerill Lecture Series has announced the second speaker of the year is Michael Schwanke, anchor and investigative reporter at KWCH-12 in Wichita.  Schwanke anchors Eyewitness News at 5 p.m. and the 9 p.m. news on KSCW.   He is also a Fact Finder 12 Investigator.  The event will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 14, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Cultural Arts Center located on the southeast corner of campus. 

Schwanke began his broadcasting career in Dodge City where he anchored and reported for KBSD.  He transferred to Wichita in December 2000 and began at KWCH as a general assignment reporter.  He spent several years on the crime beat and was weekend anchor for five years before moving to the Eyewitness Newscast at 5 p.m. where he co-anchors with Cindy Klose and the newscast at 9 p.m. on KSCW with Melissa Scheffler.

Schwanke has been recognized by his broadcasting peers for excellence in reporting and his contributions to the profession.  His awards include the National Edward R. Murrow Award for continuing coverage of the Carr brothers’ murder trial.  This award is given in recognition of outstanding achievements in electronic journalism.  Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession.

Brothers Reginald and Jonathan Carr were tried for a murder, assault, rape and a robbery spree in Wichita against several people in December 2000.  The Carrs were convicted of killing five people.  A sixth victim survived a gunshot wound to the head.  They were tried and sentenced to death in October 2002.  The Carr brothers along with BTK killer Dennis Rader are considered to be among the worst criminals in the history of the state of Kansas. 

Schwanke also covered the BTK trial in Wichita.  He was interviewed on several occasions by network programs including CNN and MSNBC while covering the trial.  He has also made other appearances for CNN and reported for the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.

Schwanke has also been awarded two regional Edward R. Murrow awards for his investigative reporting exposing abuses at a Wichita dental clinic for children.  The clinic was performing unnecessary procedures without prior parental consent to collect fees from insurance companies and government assistance programs. The story helped lead to a multimillion-dollar settlement.

In 2014, he won in the hard news category for his report that took viewers behind the scenes of the Wichita Children’s Home.  In 2013, Schwanke won an Emmy in the business category where he featured a dairy farmer in Reno County who feeds recycled chocolate to his cattle from the Russell Stover factory in Abilene.

He is a graduate of Colby High School, completed several general education classes at Colby Community College and received his undergraduate degree in Informational Networking and Telecommunications with a minor in Public Relations and Leadership certificate from Fort Hays State University.  In 2010 he was selected by Fort Hays as the Young Alumni of the Year.

During his 14 years at KWCH, he has covered some of the biggest events in Kansas including the Hutchinson gas explosion, the Greensburg tornado, the BTK serial killer, and the Carr brother’s murder trial.

He and his wife Tenille, who is a Physician’s Assistant and a native of Colby, have two girls:  Jorja, 8; and Jayda, 6.

There is no charge to attend the event.  The Max Pickerill Lecture Series is funded annually by anonymous donors.

For more information, contact lecture series chair Linda Davis-Stephens at 785.460.5528.