Longtime TV anchor, Leopolis native Barr moving on to new job

Shawano County native Teri Barr, who has worked at television stations in Wausau and Green Bay since 1988, has taken a new job. Her last newscast will be on WLUK tonight.

By Carol Wagner

of the Leader staff

After more than a decade of being watched by family and friends in northeast Wisconsin, television news anchor and Shawano County native Teri Barr is moving on to a new job.

Barr's last newscasts for WLUK Fox 11 will be tonight.

"I have been so lucky to work in area where your friends and family are," said Barr.

On April 3, Barr starts her new job as a field anchor/correspondent for the Hearst/Argyle Television Co. She will be based in Cincinnati, but will travel throughout the country to report stories.

"It is very exciting because I will also have the opportunity to work in markets in Boston, Washington D.C. and New York," she said.

Barr's stories will be distributed for use throughout the company's stations, although it is hoped to expand the market for work. Barr's husband Brian has taken a job at the company's NBC affiliate in Cincinnati.

Barr grew up on the Leopolis farm of her parents, Jerry and Marlene Schultz, along with two younger brothers, Randy and Brian.

She graduated from Marion High School and then attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she majored in radio-TV-film and had minors in journalism and political science.

"When I was in eighth grade I knew I wanted to be part of TV," she remembers.

During high school, Barr worked at WTCH-WOWN in Shawano. In her first semester of college, she had her own radio air shift, something usually reserved for upper classmen at the 24-hour student run station.

After that she anchored the news on the college TV station and then wrote commercials and promos for radio station WIXX as her first real job. Because she had some TV experience and grew up on a farm, she did some fill-in work for WBAY if the farm director/anchor was away. In 1988, she started working at WSAW-TV in Wausau, where she eventually became the news co-anchor on their main newscasts and also got her stage name.

"It was with a trepidation I went on air at Channel 7, that I knew family friends, classmates and even college classmates could watch me at work," recalled Barr, who wondered if they would be tough on her. "But in the end it turned out it was all supportive, and because they knew me, they paid extra attention, and remembered the things I did. Everybody seemed to embrace me as their own local TV person."

After nearly two years in Wausau, she had the opportunity to go back to Green Bay. When WLUK added a 5 p.m. newscast, Barr auditioned and got the job. When the station switched network affiliation to Fox, she moved from an anchor-reporter to co-anchor of the 5 and 9 p.m. newscasts.

Barr credits hard work and a never-say-quit attitude for her success in the competitive field of broadcast journalism. The best part of her job is that it is different every day.

"It's exciting to know you can make a difference with a story or broadcast you do," she said.

Criticism of the media is deserved if the reporting isn't fair or accurate says Barr.

"If we aren't doing the job justice, then we deserve the criticism," she said.

She remembers one "horrible" example when Connie Chung interviewed the mother of Newt Gingrich and told her on camera "it's just us, you can whisper the answer to me" and then played it on national television.

"That made us all look bad for a while. Trust is a hard thing to gain back," she said.

Barr has been heavily involved in the community, so several mornings a week would mean a get-together or meeting with the organizations. She has worked with the 4-H program in Brown County and for the state for the last several years, after being a 12-year member in Shawano County.

One cause Barr's proud she's championed is breast cancer awareness, which afflicted her mother eight years ago.

Both Barr and her mother began speaking out about to friends and anyone else who would listen, and later Barr did the first of what became an annual program on the subject.

"Every year, (Mom) was a part of the half-hour specials," Barr said.

Marlene Schultz said it's been nice over the past 12 years to turn on the TV and see here daughter, and is a little sad about her departure from the local airwaves.

"We're really proud of her," she said. "I will miss her and (the opportunity) to see what she's doing. I always liked to see what she was wearing."

But her family understands.

"It's a step up for her," said her father, Jerry.

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