Mark Bellinger Was The 'Heart' Of NewsChannel 5

Posted at 6:17 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 22:40:59-04

It is impossible to measure the impact Mark Bellinger had on journalism in the 23 years he spent as a reporter for NewsChannel 5, but reactions to his death on Thursday gives you some idea.

"Mark was a very unique individual who represented Channel 5 tremendously well over the years and Mark was a person that no one here had any qualms about talking to," said Don Aaron, a longtime friend and member of the Metro Nashville Police Department.

Mark's coworkers remembered him for his wit and sense of humor. He was fixture at NewsChannel 5 for more than two decades.

"If it was a rough day he would always say something to calm me down or make me feel better," photojournalist Michael Redd said about his close friend and colleague.

"He was just a decent man. No ego. Just a nice guy. I’m gonna miss him," reporter Nick Beres said.

A journalist to the core, Mark was loved by his colleagues and respected by politicians.

"He spoke so often about his wife and daughter and how much he enjoyed them, it hurts," Governor Bill Haslam said about Mark Bellinger who interviewed him dozens of times over the years.

We've spent a lot of time thinking about what Mark meant to us, what he brought to television news in Nashville and how he raised the level of discourse with every story. 

"I will really, really miss just talking to him," reporter Tuwanda Coleman said.

Mark fought cancer courageously for nearly three years, his wife Cindy and Anna were with him when he passed away on Thursday afternoon.

"Mark was always looking for a  family. He wanted to be married and have a child. When he found that with Cindy I feel like that was the point he felt his life was complete," NewsChannel 5 General Manager Lyn Plantinga said about her good friend Mark.

A GoFundMe page has been setup to help Mark's family.