Waco Station Hires New Anchor

Washington, D.C.-based broadcast journalist Tara Mergener will join KWTX next month as news anchor and executive producer of evening newscasts.

She will fill the 10 p.m. weekday news co-anchor slot, vacated by Julie Hays in June to spend more time with family, joining fellow news anchor Gordon Collier. Mergener also will team with Hays as co-anchors for KWTX’s 5 p.m. weekday newscast. Hays is co-anchor with Collier on the 6 p.m. newscast and executive producer of the station’s daytime newscasts.

The news anchor opening earlier this summer neatly coincided with a desire by Mergener and husband Paul, a Killeen native and D.C.-area businessman, to move to a place they felt was more amenable to raising their 11-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son.

“We were looking for a new adventure,” she said in a recent phone interview. “I’ve been working in D.C. for 10 years ... and we were looking for a community with a different feel. Texas was on our list.”

For the past eight years, Mergener has contributed as freelancer for CBS Newspath, Hearst-Argyle Television and CNN, covering the White House, Congress and the State Department as well as such breaking stories as the 2013 Washington Navy Yard shootings.

KWTX News Director Mikel Lauber said Mergener’s background and news sense meshed well with the station’s news department.

“We believe Tara is the perfect fit to continue to push us in the right direction,” he said.

For Mergener, the KWTX positions as news anchor and news producer provide a “natural progression” in her reporting career and will allow her to take on more leadership responsibility.

The new job, which she will start in mid-September, also is in a market where local news sometimes goes national. “I love breaking news, and Waco’s not short on breaking news,” she laughed.

H/T Waco Tribune