America’s first Hmong anchorman reflects on historic year at Local 5


From left, Local 5 meteorologist Brandon Lawrence and “Good Morning Iowa” co-hosts Chenue Her and Jackie Schmillen work on the set at the  Local 5 and Iowa CW studio in West Des Moines.

As dusk met daylight, “Good Morning Iowa” anchor Chenue Her read the mid-September headlines off a scrolling teleprompter flanked by co-hosts at Local 5’s boxy West Des Moines-based studio.

During bite-sized commercial breaks, dressed in a navy-blue suit jacket, the local ABC station’s morning show host joked with on-set production members and straightened a pink tie adorned with traditional Hmong patterns.

A small nod to a life and career spent carrying the weight of generations close to his chest. After several news directors had asked him to change his Hmong name, for a chance at the anchor desk, before his time at Local 5.

Her delivered the day’s biggest stories to the Des Moines metro area: Sexual assault allegations leveled at Adm. Mike Franken, the Democratic challenger to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, by a former campaign staffer. A website launched to help lower rising rates of opioid addiction in Iowa. More mental health funding for K-12 schools.

Her is one of one.

Local 5 “Good Morning Iowa” co-host Chenue Her waits for his cue during the live show on Sept. 20 at the Local 5 and Iowa CW studio in West Des Moines.

The 31-year-old, who made history and national headlines last October when he was hired by Local 5 to co-host the morning newscast, is America’s first and only Hmong anchorman.

Following a historic year spent shattering the glass anchor desk for the Hmong community, Her reflected on past career roadblocks that led him to a dream come true in Des Moines and a breakout season that has defined his lifework.

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