SPJ’s 2023 Indiana Journalist of the Year, Dana Benbow, will keynote the 37th Annual Keating Banquet on Nov. 4, 2023.

Dana Hunsinger Benbow is a sportswriter for the Indianapolis Star. She grew up in Greenfield, Indiana, playing volleyball and tennis, loving the Boston Celtics and New York Yankees almost as much as she loved crafting stories. In third grade, she won an award for a story she wrote about a jellybean sitting on President Ronal Reagan’s desk.

She graduated from Ball State University in 1997 with a degree in journalism and began her career at the Noblesville Daily Ledger covering government. In 1999, she was hired at the Star as a business writer and spent a decade covering commercial real estate development and retail. She went on to become the newspaper’s fitness writer and, nine years ago, she joined the sports desk.

As a sports reporter, Benbow was in New England for the AFC championship, the infamous Deflategate game. She flew out to Reno, where she did a three-part series on the rise and fall of Steve Alford, after he was fired from UCLA. She has traveled to Minnesota for a story inside Ben Utecht’s home as he battles CTE and memory loss. In 2020, she began covering two elite athletes Chase (a swimmer) and Sadie (a diver) after Chase was diagnosed with terminal cancer and married Sadie while still in high school. She followed them for a year until Chase’s death in April.

Her coverage of the Indy 500 earned her an APSE national sports award in 2021. Her story on Colts center Ryan Kelly, his wife Emma and the loss of their daughter Mary Kate won an APSE national sports award in 2022. Earlier this year, she was named Indiana Journalist of The Year by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Benbow’s main focus in sports is to tell the stories of athletes, coaches, trends and finances — the stuff that happens off the field or court. She is married with three sons, plays beach volleyball, and has two pet goats named Gus and Herman.

Dana Benbow, IndyStar

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