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Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Justin has always had an affinity for communities with a diverse population. The opportunity to be chosen as a captain and lead his collegiate football team at the University of Northern Iowa to a national championship game provided him with invaluable experience in leadership and teamwork, while having the chance to play in the NFL added an ability to perform under some of the most stressful and high pressure situations.

His enthusiasm for reporting began when he was a sports intern at WCCO in Minneapolis. During that time, he was able to witness a large metropolitan newsroom in action. Seeing important issues resolved within the community pushed him to switch from sports to news.

Justin joined WHO-TV in July of 2015. In 2016 his detailed coverage of uncontrolled intersections won an Eric Sevareid award for general reporting from the Midwest Broadcast Journalist Association.

Before joining WHO-TV, Justin was a weekend evening news anchor and reporter at WIBW-TV in Topeka, Kansas. During his four year stop in the Capital City he contributed live reports in three Heartland Emmy Award winning newscasts, including one where he provided live reports for 11 hours after two police officers were shot and killed. He has also won a Kansas Association of Broadcasters award for in-depth reporting.

Justin considers it an honor to work in a place with a reputation for delivering in-depth and award winning news in the Des Moines area. He is always looking for a good story idea. Email him or just say hi at

13 Facts about Justin
1. I was a co-captain on the 2005 National runner-up Northern Iowa Football team.
2. My favorite song is When doves cry by Prince, who I’ve seen twice in concert.
3. I have played professional football with the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings.
4. In Topeka, Kansas I received an honor from the Topeka Police Department for reporting.
5. In 2015 I was inducted into my high school athletic hall of fame. Go Concordia Academy Beacons!
6. My favorite food is Lasagna -I am the only one in my family who dislikes watermelon…Yuck.
7. I have a very cute Yorkie-Australian Shepherd mixed dog named Cooper.
8. Every Christmas I have to listen to “Santa Claus is coming to town “by the Jackson 5.
9. My mom is a strong survivor of breast cancer. Go mom!
10. When I worked in Topeka, Kansas I covered Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.
11. I won two bicycles growing up and both were stolen from me.
12. I grew up in St.Paul, Minnesota and love a good cheesy hot dish.
13. My guilty pleasure would have to be Haribo Gummy Bears.

Recent Articles
  • Iowa Educators Believe More Guns Will Not Provide Safer Schools

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The heartbreak of seventeen innocent students and teachers killed in the mass shooting in Florida continues to be felt across the country, including within the Iowa State Education Association.  “Our members are sad, they are scared, they are frustrated that we`re at this point,” said ISEA President Tammy Wawro. President Donald Trump commended the courage of every victim in the mass shooting and offered a solution to stop future tragedies.  “That coach was very brave. Saved […]

  • Deportation Forcing Iowa Couple to Close Decade-Old Restaurant in Hopes of Gaining American Citizenship

    PERRY, Iowa  —  Perry’s El Buen Gusto has been the Barco family’s livelihood since 2009. Speaking about her parents, 22-year-old Marisa Barco said, “They wake up thinking of the restaurant, they go to sleep thinking of the restaurant. They are here from eight in the morning until ten at night.” Charity Sumner-Ehman makes the 30-minute drive from Jefferson often just for their Papusas. She said, “Oh they are yummy and they make them just right.” Marisa’s parents, Edith and Carlos […]

  • Bill Aims to Give Iowa Teachers Tools to Help Prevent Student Suicide

    DES MOINES, Iowa  —  In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Iowans ages 15-34 and the third leading cause for 10-14-year-olds. Those statistics, from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, are not falling on deaf ears at the state capitol any longer. “Many of us have been touched by suicide in the past. It’s one of those disappointing things that happen in life,” said Republican State Senator Craig Johnson of Buchanan County. Legislators are hoping a […]

  • Wrestling Singlets Now Have a Challenger at the Mat

    DES MOINES, Iowa  —  The list of all the high school wrestling champions since the IHSAA began hosting the tournament in 1926 is long–thirty-four pages long, to be exact. The 1,940 athletes crowned champion all have one thing in common: the singlet. “That’s what it has been for such a long time. I don’t really see a point in changing it because there is nothing wrong with the singlets themselves,” said Carlisle wrestler Dez Hammel. This past May, the National […]

  • Iowa Supreme Court to Rule Friday on Landmark Surrogate Case

    DES MOINES, IOWA  —  Surrogate rights in Iowa have fallen under the microscope. “Genetically, it is not her child, it is a child with genes of other people she agreed to carry,” said Iowa Supreme Court Justice Thomas Waterman. In January of 2016, Paul and Chantele Montover entered an agreement in Linn County for a surrogate to carry their child but surrender custody immediately upon birth. “We decided to not use an agency, but our clinic gave us several websites […]

  • Fort Dodge Home Explosion Under Investigation

      FORT DODGE, Iowa — It was an unforgettable afternoon.  “I looked out and I could see the roof lifting up and the debris going across the yard,  said Larry Ackerson who lives across the street from the home explosion that rattled the senses of Fort Dodge residents shortly before 1 pm Wednesday on the corner of Ninth Avenue South and South 31st Street.  “It felt like an earthquake. It just shook the whole house,” said Larry. Becky Habhab, another […]

  • Marshalltown Officers Honored For Life-Saving Teamwork

    MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa  —  Marshalltown police officers will say it was just another day on the job. “It’s what we do and it’s not something we go out and try and get recognized for,” said officer Vern Jefferson. That is why the city made sure everyone knew their actions this fall were extraordinary. “Immediately, when we first got there, it was very obvious that he was in dire straits and would need immediate assistance,” recalled Sergeant Melinda Ruopp. On September 19th, […]

  • Ballard Student Could Be Iowa’s Next Star On Ice

    AMES, Iowa — Seventeen-year-old Joslyn Waelti-Johnson takes the ice with a purpose. “I want people to feel something when I skate,” said the Ballard High School junior. Each moment becomes frozen in time. “The best feeling is probably, even though it can get painful on my ears, the cold wind that I hit when you start going fast. That wind gets stronger and it is just a nice feeling,” she said. Joslyn has been chasing that feeling almost all her […]

  • Harsh Winter Cannot Defeat Iowa’s Running Man

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — West Des Moines’ John Liepa is a man on the run. “A sense of freedom that is a lot of it,” Liepa said.  His journey began four decades ago.  “I started on January 1st of 1977. That is the last day I missed a run.” Now at 15,013 consecutive days, John has the tenth longest streak on the Official USA Active Running Streak list.  John said, “I got into running because of a knee injury […]

  • Joy and Pain of Iowa Winter

      DES MOINES, Iowa — Winter in Des Moines can be joyful.  Thirteen year old Nicholas Calderon laughs as he takes another turn on his family sled down Capital Hill.  His feelings are a complete 180-degree turn from the pain many in Iowa experienced during Monday’s snow storm, including Des Moines snowplow drivers tasked with removing it.  “We had a very good idea of how much snow was going to arrive what caught us off guard was the intensity of the […]

  • Mother Nature Forcing Snow Plow Drivers Into Exhaustion

    DES MOINES, Iowa  —  The Iowa Department of Transportation had 285 trucks on roadways on Tuesday, but their plows weren’t alone. The city of Des Moines also deployed 100 pieces of equipment, and countless private contractors worked around the clock clearing snow from driveways, alleys, and parking lots. “From 11:35 yesterday morning until about 1:30 a.m., so almost a 14-hour day. There’s points where you are so exhausted that you can hardly keep your eyes open. You’ve got to go […]

  • Grace Period Over For Downtown Parking, Businesses See Positivity

    DES MOINES, Iowa — If downtown goers weren’t already aware of parking changes in the Court Avenue district, Des Moines parking enforcement is already offering a friendly reminder. While frustrating, that $15 ticket is seen by some as a positive. “Des Moines is booming and just look around and see how many cranes are in the air,” said Scott Carlson, owner of Court Avenue Brewing Company in the Court Avenue District. He said another positive sign for businesses came when […]