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 Justin.Surrency@whotv.com
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.
DES MOINES, Iowa — A near-death experience led an Iowa man to his dream job. Clint Bennethum has a lot to be thankful for these days. “I’ve done a lot of jobs in my life, but this is by far is the best,” said Bennethum. What led him to landing his dream job as a paramedic with West Des Moines Emergency Services nearly cost him his life, but he is thankful for that, too. “I am grateful for it leading […]
DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s been days since a now weary Fadumo Ahmed last saw her 18-year-old son Abdullahi Sharif. “Four days, never sleeping, never anything. Oh my God,” said Fadumo. Abdullahi, who is often called “Abdi” by his family and friends, was last seen on surveillance video Friday night at Target inside Des Moines’ Merle Hay Mall. It is a place he’s worked at for nearly two years. “At that time we had a couple investigative leads that we […]
DES MOINES, Iowa — Four days after a shooting killed two people and injured two others, Des Moines police continue to search for answers. Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said, “The information we have now that we’ve been able to confirm is that there were more people there. It’s a matter of getting a hold of those folks, figuring out what their role was, what they saw and what they can help us with so we can keep moving […]
DES MOINES, Iowa — A penny saved is a penny earned. “You have to save. If you don’t save, you have no money left,” explained Chance Sutton, an eighth grade student at Meredith Middle School. Metro organizations Urban Dreams, Hip Hope and Community Choice Credit Union spent Saturday opening savings accounts with middle school kids like Chance from Des Moines. “Helping out and opening accounts for these young kids and getting them started on their financial path,” said Mary O’Brien […]
DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s a nightmare Ryan Smithman never thought he’d experience on his normally calm and quaint northwest Des Moines street. “Four people shot two people dead, five houses away from where you live, it’s frightening,” said Smithman. Police quickly shared the same emotion. “It’s definitely sad. We’ve already experienced this once this year, we certainly did not expect this to happen,” said Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department. Police responded to a shooting at […]
DES MOINES, Iowa — Around 100 people from across the country came to Des Moines in an attempt to get the presidential candidates’ attention. “The Democrats are running from talking about poverty. The Republicans are racializing who is considered poor. Nobody is coming up with solutions, nobody is listening to the voices and demands of poor and impacted people,” said Reverend Dr. William Barber/National Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. The national and Iowa Poor People’s Campaigns marched from First […]
DES MOINES, Iowa — Flu season is ramping up in Iowa, but there’s another virus that has health officials concerned. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) may be trailing only influenza in central Iowa viruses, but it may be just as lethal. “Potentially fatal. We have our hospital full with infants and children with multiple viral illnesses, but RSV is one of our most prevalent,” said Carrie O’Brien of UnityPoint Health. Children 12 months old and younger are most vulnerable. O’Brien said, […]
CARROLL, Iowa — Police say a destructive attempt to cancel classes at an Iowa school could end with a felony charge for a middle school student. “No, not a prank. It’s felony level damage that we are probably going to have here,” said Carroll Police Chief Brad Burke. Investigators say officers were called to Carroll Middle School around 2:55 a.m. Monday when they were alerted by a delivery driver who could not gain access to the school. When officers arrived, […]
JOHNSTON, Iowa — As “Death to America” threats are hurled in Iran, another threat looms in America from within. Col. Mike Wunn with Iowa National Guard says over two-thirds of Americans are unfit to serve their country. “Nationally about 30 percent of young adults between the ages of 17 to 24 fit into those categories where they can qualify for military service,” said Wunn. One of the problems Wunn has seen is obesity. “Certain groups of young people are very […]
DES MOINES, Iowa — Making a direct impact from Iowa to Iran may be over 6,000 miles, but over 100 hoped change could come from a first step. A large group marched at the Iowa State Capitol to denounce the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, sparking threats of retaliation from the region’s Islamic Republic. “We are not going to watch our country get involved in a war for oil that’s completely of choice,” said Caroline Schoonover, co-chair […]
DES MOINES, Iowa — Over two dozen fire alarms in 20 minutes put fire crews from all corners of Des Moines into service Saturday morning. “It was mainly confined to the south side of Des Moines, the west side of Des Moines and downtown area,” said Lt. Rick Thomas with the Des Moines Fire Department. Fire officials say 26 alarms were triggered at locations throughout the city shortly after 5 a.m. Some included were the Polk County Justice Center, Nationwide […]
DES MOINES, Iowa — A drunk driver wreaked havoc along a street in Beaverdale, and neighbors say it’s not the first time they have had problems with drivers on that road. A crash Saturday morning created a rude awakening for neighbors in the 3200 block of Leado Avenue. “We just heard a loud bang and saw sparks right outside our living room window,” said Courtney Glenney. “It sounded like a demolition derby. I was afraid to look out here,” said […]