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Shay McAlister

Shay McAlister is an anchor and investigative journalist at WHAS11.
Credit: WHAS

Shay joined the team in July of 2015, fresh out of the University of Missouri and eager to learn. Through years of reporting in Kentuckiana, she found a passion for shining a light on areas that would probably prefer to be dark.

"I love Louisville so much and consider it an incredible privilege to do work that exposes the bad and highlights the good," Shay said.

Shay’s steadfast and relentless approach to journalism has led to federal accountability and legislative changes. In 2018, she launched the UNSOLVED series, which covers Kentucky’s cold cases and brings families closer to getting answers. Shay has led the coverage of the Bardstown mysteries, narrating the chart-topping podcast ‘BARDSTOWN’ in 2019. Her years-long investigation into nonprofit Wildlife in Need led to authorities stepping in to shut down the animal refuge, riddled with accusations of wrongdoing, and set the stage for new legal accountability for similar organizations. Shay's investigation was featured in the NETFLIX documentary series Tiger King in 2021.

But Shay says she is most proud of her work with the ACE Project. In 2015, she met grieving mother Rose Smith, at her son’s vigil. Smith’s son had been murdered the year before and Shay was sent to cover the story. It was an interaction that could have began and ended on that night. But, neither of the women let that happen. Instead, the two kept in touch for years, as Smith started a non-profit in her son’s honor. In 2017, Rose told Shay about her dream to build a community center on the property where her son was killed. With help from WHAS11's parent company TEGNA, Shay and Rose officially opened the neighborhood center called 'The ACE Place' in May of 2019. Shay sits on the board of the ACE Project today.

Since moving to Louisville, Shay has been awarded two Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, five Emmy Awards and numerous AP Awards including ‘Best TV Reporter.’

She was born in Dallas, TX, but moved often while growing up- living in Miami, FL, Munich, Germany, Breckinridge, CO and Columbia, MO before moving to Kentucky. "Now Louisville has my heart ," Shay said.

Shay lives in Louisville with her rescues- Juniper the dog and Monday the cat. 

Credit: WHAS11

Shay loves connecting with the community through Facebook. You can also contact Shay McAlister at smcalister@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter.