Veteran WISN 12 journalist Mike Anderson passes away

April 23, 2020

It is with heavy hearts that WISN 12 News reports longtime journalist Mike Anderson has passed away.

Mike died suddenly Tuesday, April 21, 2020 surrounded by family after suffering a fatal brain aneurysm.

He was 67 years old.

WISN 12 News Director Ben Hart shared the news with station staff Tuesday morning.

Mike began his career at WISN in 1981.

During his tenure at WISN, he covered countless news events, including the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged his hometown of New Orleans.

Over the years, Mike produced breakthrough news reports about issues involving racial inequality, economic development, local governance, political upheaval, and inner- city violence.

Mike was the recipient of many awards, including for his work on the award-winning documentaries “Children in the Line of Fire” and “Solutions to Violence.”

He interviewed four U.S. presidents: Richard M. Nixon, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Before joining WISN 12 News, Mike worked as a news anchor and reporter at KIRO-TV in Seattle.

He began his professional career as a radio journalist, crossing into television news while working in Birmingham.

Mike attended Louisiana State University and the Career Academy School of Broadcast Journalism.

He was a member of the Wisconsin Black Media Association.

Mike was also involved with the Milwaukee “Black Excellence Awards” for more than a decade.

He emceed the annual awards ceremony and produced the video presentation the last few years.

Mike retired from WISN 12 News in 2017.

He enjoyed coming back to TV to share fun Milwaukee events like Summerfest and the Wisconsin State Fair.

When he wasn’t reporting the news, Mike liked playing a round of golf.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

Mike was remembered fondly by his family at WISN 12 News.

“Mike was the coolest guy who ever worked or ever will work at Channel 12,” WISN 12 Chief Meteorologist Mark Baden said. “He was so loved by everyone in the community. From his wonderful collection of hats to that infectious smile and laugh. It did not matter if you were white, black, or brown, Mike was so approachable. Milwaukee has lost a treasure.”

“I worked with Mike for more than 20 years. The reporter/ photojournalist relationship is one that goes beyond being a co-worker,” WISN 12 News Chief Photojournalist Jason Hunter said. “You have a bond that is unlike that of any other profession. As a team you must endure covering the best of times, and the worst of times…delivering both good and bad news to your viewers. Mike was one of the best journalists I’ve ever worked with, but beyond that, he was an even better human being. A day working with Mike was always a pleasure; even if it was a bad day, Mike always found the bright side of things. He made us all better journalists, and better people. RIP my friend. You will be missed.”

“I am heartbroken and deeply saddened to hear of Mike Anderson’s passing,” WISN 12 News reporter Hillary Mintz said. “Mike was my friend and mentor at WISN. He not only shared advice with me about journalism, but about life and family. His sincerity, his smile and storytelling will stay with me. I extend my sympathies to his family at home and all of my colleagues at WISN who also considered Mike family.”

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