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Sarah Hill leaves KOMU to tell stories about veterans

Thursday, July 26, 2012 | 7:31 p.m. CDT; updated 11:26 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 26, 2012

COLUMBIA — Sarah Hill, the KOMU-TV host known for employing social media and hosting "Sarah's Stories," will be leaving the station to share the stories of veterans across the country.

Hill, a nine-time Emmy-award winning journalist, announced Thursday that she would begin working at Veterans United Home Loans at the beginning of September.

Hill has a strong connection with veterans — her grandfather served in World War II. She said he refused to describe his experiences during the war, but she later found his Bronze Stars, indicating he had accomplished more than he told her.

Hill, 41, said she enjoys learning about her grandfather's generation and feels veterans deserve to have their stories told.

"They didn't talk or brag about their accomplishments; they just did their jobs," Hill said.

She said this new opportunity would allow her to focus on a new frontier of social media and build virtual front porches for businesses through Google Plus Hangout. Hill plans to use this platform to connect veterans in ways they've never been previously.

"I got a great opportunity to tell stories about a subject matter near and dear to my heart," Hill said.

Hill's role at Veterans United will include storytelling and planning the company's social media strategy. She was the first journalist to use Google Plus Hangout on a television newscast. Her use of this type of social media in the news station was featured in a Google Plus commercial.

Hill describes using Google Plus Hangout as having "an omniscient narrator in your ear during a live telecast." She said she is looking forward to those narrators being veterans in the future.  

According to her profile on KOMU.com, Hill first began her career working in radio in the early 1990s. She joined KOMU in 2000 and hosts weekly segments — "Sarah's Stories" and "Your View" — and anchors newscasts at noon and 5 p.m. 

"Sarah certainly was a key contributor to what we do here at KOMU and was just an incredible anchor, contributor and diplomat for the TV station," general manager Marty Siddall said.

Hill said leaving KOMU will be difficult because she considers everyone at the news station dear to her heart.

"They've been my family for the last 12 years. I'll miss them greatly."

Although Hill is leaving KOMU, Siddall said Hill would still be a contributing reporter for the station, sharing occasional "Sarah's Stories" about the veterans she encounters in her new job.  

Hill said she is excited for the new opportunity.

"I'm looking forward to the challenges with pioneering a new way to engage with customers at Veterans United."

Kris Farmer, chief marketing officer for Veterans United Home Loans, said in a news release that Hill is an "incredible storyteller and a social media visionary." He said he thinks she is a perfect fit for Veterans United, and he is "thrilled to have her on the team."

Veterans United Home Loans is a Columbia-based company whose mission is to help veterans and active-duty military members take advantage of home-loan benefits available to them. 

Hill's last day at KOMU will be Aug. 17.

Supervising editor is Jake Kreinberg.


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