Rise & Shine
Good Morning Indiana Anchor Lauren Casey Talks Career, Community & Growing Up on the Southside
Photographer: Amy Payne
Parents are notorious for encouraging their children to have a Plan B should life’s Plan A fail to materialize. Lauren Casey’s parents were no different. Growing up in Center Grove, Casey loved to dance and in 2007 even helped launch Center Grove High School’s dance squad. She poured her heart and soul into the sport, not only performing on the school team but also dancing competitively.
“I hoped to someday open a dance studio of my own,” Casey says.
A back injury partway through high school, however, prompted her to contemplate a Plan B. Drawn to news, politics, reading and writing, her mom suggested she pursue a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
“I liked following current events, public speaking and performing in front of people,” Casey says. “It was the typical case of parents knowing you better than you know yourself.”
Ultimately, Casey earned a degree from Franklin College. She not only loved the small-town feel of the campus, but she also appreciated being given opportunities she might not have had at a larger university. For instance, she was asked to write a column for the newspaper the first week she was there. She also got to work at the statehouse, covering local political issues facing Hoosiers.
The summer following her junior year, she interned at WRTV6, then was offered a part-time job as a traffic reporter during her senior year. Soon after graduating, she married her long-time boyfriend Brooks.
“We started dating at 16,” she says.
It wasn’t long before they purchased a house in Center Grove. Brooks works in industrial sales doing product management for Haggard & Stocking, a family-owned business.
“He works a normal 9-to-5 job and has hobbies,” Casey says. “Unlike me, who has to nap twice a day because I get up for work at 2 a.m.”
Yup. You read that right. As an anchor for Good Morning Indiana, she rises at 2 a.m., is at the studio by 3:30 a.m., reading through scripts and familiarizing herself with the material. After 15 minutes in hair and makeup, she’s on air at 4:27 a.m. The silver lining here is that her commute often takes as little as 20 minutes at that time of day.
Though the schedule is brutal, she admits to being a morning person who enjoys having her afternoons and evenings free. She also anchors the afternoon show, which airs from 12 to 12:30 p.m.
Despite the wild hours, Casey couldn’t be happier living in her hometown and featuring community stories. She loves meeting people — especially public officials and community leaders who work to bring positive change.
“I take a lot of pride in telling stories about Center Grove, Franklin and Greenwood,” Casey says. “There’s lots to offer on the southside, and I want to be sure we cover it properly.”
Due to the always-shifting nature of the job, she’s had to learn to roll with the punches. For example, one of her craziest days was early on as a traffic reporter when Indianapolis got pounded by an insane amount of snow.
“The city was shut down,” Casey says. “They called in whoever was available, and we were on air for 12 hours straight.”
Then there are the sad times. Last spring Casey was anchoring when news broke of Deputy Jacob Pickett’s fatal shooting in Lebanon. One of her husband’s best friends had also been killed in the line of duty, causing this news to hit close to home. Casey had to put on her game face as she reported on the tragic incident.
“When you have a personal connection to a story, that makes it that much harder to cover but also makes it that much more important to be sure it’s done right,” says Casey, noting that in this profession, you never know what’s going to happen on any given day.
That, of course, is all part of the adrenaline rush.
“You can never have a lazy day in this business,” she says. “You always have to be on your toes.”
Every day, Casey brings her “A” game, despite this being her Plan B.
You can follow Lauren on Twitter at @Lauren_Casey or visit theindychannel.com for more information.