Meet ABC Newsman Dan Kloeffler '99
Dan Kloeffler ’99
His years at UNH weren’t just some of the best of his life; they were some of the most pivotal.
“There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t think of some memory I have of UNH and smile,” said Dan Kloeffler ’99. “It really is one of those very special communities. I encourage everyone I talk with to check it out. It’s one of the best universities in the country for academics and the social benefits as well—open, friendly, welcoming.”
He credits his time at UNH—and his sister—with getting him where he is now. A digital correspondent for ABC News based in New York, Kloeffler reports for ABCNews.com, ABC News Now and “Good Morning America Weekend.” In addition to on-air reporting, he also blogs for ABCNews.com.
Born and raised in Michigan, Kloeffler transferred to UNH after a year at a small college in Michigan. “I had family in the area and I loved the state. I realized I needed to get away from home and New Hampshire seemed like a perfect fit.” Of course, it didn’t hurt that he fell in love with the campus on his first visit. Although Kloeffler worked full-time job while attending UNH he went to all the hockey games and fondly recalls homecoming and too many nights at Libby’s.
So Kloeffler’s sister...it was the middle of his sophomore year when she asked him if he was passionate about the business degree he was working on. “At the time I didn’t have a good answer.” It was that frank conversation—and her observation that he likes to be the center of attention, likes to get dressed up, and thinks he knows everything—that first sparked his interest in journalism. And in the event you were wondering, she still speaks her mind. She’s the first one who will call me up after I’ve been on air and say ‘I don’t know if I would have worn that tie with that shirt’ or ‘your hair looked weird,’” he said with a laugh.
Then there were the classes with UNH journalism professor Lisa Miller. “I wasn’t one of those kids who grew up pie-eyed watching Peter Jennings or Tom Brokaw but I just fell in love with it.” Soon there was an internship at WMUR that led to a job as weekend producer and assignment editor while he was finishing his last year of school. “It was the summer JFK, Jr.’s plane went down and I was on the assignment desk that Friday night. It was the first really big event I saw unfold on my watch and I knew then I wanted to be on air.”
A WMUR colleague encouraged him to apply for an open reporter position at WNDS. It was 1999 and the primary was quickly approaching. “When they learned I had a suit I was hired as an anchor. I’ve had a lot of serendipity moments like that.” And then there was the move to the NBC affiliate in Syracuse; a job he almost didn’t take. “When I first got into journalism I wanted to be at WHDH in Boston. I didn’t want to go anyplace else; I liked their style of doing news, the coverage, the people they had and that’s all I focused on. The reality in this industry is that you need to up and move every three years and now I’m incredibly glad I did. The lessons I learned were so valuable, especially about taking chances.”
From Syracuse it was on to MSNBC and NBC’s “Early Today” before landing at ABC News. “I feel lucky I can play in both sandboxes at ABC. Every day is different. Working on the digital platforms offers more flexibility and freedom than a traditional broadcast. People tend to be more active participants in digital media while in broadcast we put the information out for consumers to consume. In anything I do here or in the future I want to incorporate humor, my personality, fun, individuality, and reality. As journalists, especially in New York, it’s easy to get disconnected from what people are talking about and that’s what I strive to bring to everything. I always ask myself how my mother sitting in Michigan will look at this story and how does it affect her.”
Last fall Kloeffler made another big career decision, taking a big chance. While reporting on actor Zachary Quinto coming out during a broadcast of “ABC World News Now” Kloeffler came out himself—professionally that is.
“The response has been one of the most life-changing experiences I’ve ever had,” he said. “ABC has been incredibly supportive and I am blown away by all the people saying how courageous it was. I’m lucky in that I’ve been out to my family and friends since my sophomore year in college, and much like when I came out to them my fears were unfounded. I felt accepted at UNH and now at ABC, too.”
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Written by Erika Mantz, UNH Media Relations. Photo courtesy of ABC News.