Amber Levenhagen, WNA future headliner, dies in car crash

Amber Levenhagen, a reporter for Unified Newspaper Group and a WNA Future Headliner, was fatally injured in a multivehicle crash Friday, Aug. 9, on Interstate 94 while returning home to Madison from Oconomowoc. She was 25.

Amber Levenhagen holds her Future Headliners plaque in March 2018 at the WNA Convention & Trade Show.

Levenhagen, a Sheboygan native, showed an early interest in journalism. As a teenager, she wrote a blog on environmental issues that garnered more attention than she’d anticipated. She went on to earn her journalism degree in 2016 from UW-Whitewater, where she worked as a staff writer and photography editor for the Royal Purple.

After graduating, Levenhagen moved to Madison and started her career as a community reporter, photographer and page designer with Unified Newspaper Group in Verona. To her colleagues, she was a newsroom leader who held herself and others to high standards, and “did so with grace and good humor.”

Her integrity and aptitude for journalism weren’t just noticed by her co-workers. In 2017, Levenhagen was the second-place recipient of the WNA’s new “Rookie Reporter of the Year” award, which recognizes outstanding entry-level reporters. The following year, she was one of five named to the third class of WNA Future Headliners. The recognition program honors emerging young leaders in the newspaper industry who display good character, leadership and professionalism at work and within the communities they serve.

According to her friends and co-workers, Levenhagen helped establish strong bonds within the community and the newsroom and was “the kind of reporter who found satisfaction in being involved with every aspect of a story.”

A celebration of life is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Olson Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 1132 Superior Avenue, Sheboygan. Family and friends are welcome at the funeral home on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service.

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Amber Levenhagen discusses her passion for journalism