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Former WISH-TV news director, Patti McGettigan, dies after long battle with cancer

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Former WISH-TV news director, Patti McGettigan, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. 

McGettigan, 53, came to Indianapolis in 2009, after a long tenure as new director at WISH-TV’s sister station in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She also helped lead newsrooms in Columbus, Ohio, and Memphis, Tennessee. 

“She was the mastermind behind the zone football coverage,” WISH-TV sports director Anthony Calhoun said. “Patti loved the underdog, she got never got caught up in image, she cared more about talent and work ethic!”

McGettigan was an integral part of transforming the WISH-TV newsroom into a digital-first operation. McGettigan was the driving force behind WISH-TV’s nonstop coverage of the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis. 

“She led our unprecedented coverage of the Super Bowl in Indy, our live studio right in the heart of Super Bowl village. Patti’s vision played an integral part in this project being a huge success,” Calhoun said.

McGettigan’s relentless pursuit for answers rubbed off on the staff of WISH-TV journalists. 

“She made us want to do better journalism,” WISH-TV anchor Phil Sanchez said. “Patti was a journalist with a capital J. Her work ethic was contagious, she challenged us to dig for the truth.” 

McGettigan dealt with a cancer diagnosis three times. The news of her passing struck a chord with many people across the industry, including her former co-workers and staff. 

"For the 'very Irish' little girl who was destined to be in journalism, growing up on Dale Street in Dearborn, watching Walter Cronkite and Bill Bonds every night in her living room with her dad, you too are now a legend to many of us,”  WOOD-TV director of operations Kevin Ferrara wrote in a staff memo sent out Saturday evening. “You’ve made an indelible impact on WOOD-TV and TV journalism.”

Known for her eye for talent, McGettigan has been credited with helping launch the careers of many in large TV news markets and on the national stage, including ABC chief meteorologist Ginger Zee and former WISH-TV news reporter Brad Edwards, who is now an investigative reporter at CBS Chicago. 

“We, as workers, are often a measurement - for better or worse - of our bosses. We have good and bad bosses. Patti was my first and best. I was an unsure intern when I entered Patti’s orbit. Twenty years later, I’m professionally who, what, where and why I am — because of her,”  said Edwards. 

Patti was a mother of two and a mentor to many. 

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