Hank Phillippi Ryan
Here’s what most people don’t know: As a result of a summer job at the Dairy Queen, I can make an ice cream cone with a curl on the top. I was vice-president of the Midwest chapter of the National Beatles Fan Club, and figured I would one day marry George. Or Paul. Or John. When I was ten, my career ambition was to be Nancy Drew.
But that’s not how it turned out. Yet.
Right now, I’m on the air at Boston’s NBC affiliate, where I’ve been working to break big stories for the past 22 years. So far, so good. Along with my 26 EMMYs, I’ve won dozens of other regional, national and international honors for what the news releases call my “hard-hitting investigations.” I’m also proud of my 10 or so Edward R. Murrow Awards for reporting and writing, my top award from the National Association of Science Writers, and my prestigious Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. I’m also proud that my consumer investigative reporting has changed laws and changed lives.
PRIME TIME is actually not my first encounter with publishing. That was in 1969, when my best friend and I got summer jobs as proofreaders, and wound up reading the entire Indiana Code of Laws out loud. Including punctuation.
Since then, I’ve been a radio reporter, a legislative aide in the United States Senate, and in a two-year stint in Rolling Stone Magazine’s Washington Bureau, worked on the political column “Capitol Chatter” and organized presidential campaign coverage for Hunter S. Thompson.
I began my TV career in 1975, anchoring and reporting the news for TV stations in Indianapolis and then Atlanta. I’ve battled my way through hurricanes, floods and blizzards, wired myself with hidden cameras, chased criminals and confronted corrupt politicians—as well as covering national political conventions, the NBA playoffs and the Super Bowl; and interviewing newsmakers from Prince Charles to President Jimmy Carter to Warren Beatty to Muhammad Ali.
I grew up in the Indianapolis area, and some of my family is still there. After a complicated high school career, (which included the Honor Society, detention, a stint as a majorette (oh, yes) and being voted ‘Most Original,’) I went to Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio. There I majored in Shakespeare, which was in the school’s catalogue, and in ‘independent reading and listening to rock and roll records,’ which was not a course the school knew it was offering. Sometimes I even attended classes. I also studied abroad at the International School in Hamburg, Germany.
Outside Channel 7 I’m on the Board of Directors of New England Sisters in Crime, and also of the New England Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. I’m also vice-president of the board of the Lyric Stage of Boston, a professional theater company. There, I founded the Lyric’s “First Curtain” program, which we created to provide the full theater experience for underprivileged students. In fact, through our fundraising and promotional efforts, First Curtain has already provided hundreds of free tickets and theater education scholarships.
I live in the Boston area with my husband, a nationally renowned civil rights and criminal defense attorney. As you can imagine, it’s pretty handy to have a legal expert on call at all hours.
More on Hank’s website.