Kelly Kennedy joined the 19 News team in November of 2019.
Kelly was born and raised in New York City, but over the past decade her career in journalism has taken her all over the country.
Kelly left New York right after college and kicked off her career at the NBC affiliate in Hastings, Nebraska. She covered everything from tornadoes to the doctor shortage in rural areas, and a mysterious virus killing piglets.
Kelly’s next stop was Panama City Beach, Florida, where several of her stories received national attention. She covered the city’s spring break problem extensively, which included a shooting that injured seven people, including college students, and a gang rape that happened on the beach in the middle of the day. She continued her coverage of spring break by reporting on the new laws the city passed to crack down on spring break. She also covered several presidential rallies in the 2016 election.
Kelly’s real passion is investigative reporting. Her piece on the North West Florida Visual Arts Center won her an investigative AP award. Kelly discovered the arts center had lost its non-profit status and brought to light the corruption going on behind the scenes. This led to a criminal investigation of the facility and its eventual shutdown.
Kelly continued to be known for her commitment to watchdog journalism in Raleigh. She broke a story about a local non-profit selling untrained and aggressive service dogs to families with special needs children. Her consistent coverage of the story led families across the country to file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office. Kelly’s coverage also encouraged former employees of the non-profit to come forward, claiming the owner abused the dogs and hired unqualified people to train the dogs as service animals. Her reporting led to the owner of the company getting arrested and charged with 42 counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.
Here in Northeast Ohio Kelly discovered several cases of local Black men seemingly minding their own business and getting the police called on them. Her reporting caught the attention of lawmakers and led to the introduction of “Darren’s Law” in 2021. The bill would allow the victim’s of racially motivated 911 calls to sue the callers for damages. It would also require implicit bias training for the caller if the court finds in favor of the person bringing the civil suit.
Kelly’s reporting also exposed a former Northeast Ohio dance teacher as a sexual predator leading to his eventual arrest and conviction. In 2022 Desmond Beasley was sentenced to 15 years in prison for raping girls as young as 13 years old. Her reporting received an Emmy nomination later that year.
Kelly is a regular contributor to the 19 Investigative podcast, “Dark Side of the Land.”
When she’s not working, Kelly enjoys cooking, step aerobics, kickboxing, hanging out with her husband and her two cats, and traveling whenever she can.
If you have a story idea, shoot Kelly an email at Kelly.Kennedy@woio.com or follow her on social media @kellyekennedytv.