Saturday, October 07, 2006

Anderson's Partner in Snarky Crime

A view of the Hill: Is the CNN anchor the future of broadcast news?

In the end, it turns out that Katie Couric - the defection, the build-up, the hype, and the legs - is just another talented person reading the news.

Some credit her with investing the news with a bit of personality, but on that front, she’s not alone.
For the past few months, CNN Headline News has been broadcasting "Prime News with Erica Hill," a daily hour-long show of international and national news, noteworthy trend pieces, and a little bit of fluff to soften the edges.
Anchor Erica Hill, a summa cum laude Boston University graduate, performs with a style that may be the future of broadcast news. She doesn’t just read the news. She leans into the camera for emphasis; her eyebrows shoot up and down in either fascination or concern; she reveals a gallery of facial expressions, depending on the subject. She always shows a palpable interest in what she’s talking about, coming across as strictly serious on the straightforward stories, light and effervescent on the goofy ones.
And she defines "telegenic."
Earlier in the year, she came in at number 35 on People Magazine’s annual "100 Most Beautiful People" list.
"I found out about that from my husband’s cousin," she says with a giggle, from her home in Atlanta, which she shares with her lawyer husband David and their dog Jake. "She called me at work. She was freaking out. She said, ’You’re in "People"!’ It was very surreal, and no one knew it was happening. But my husband was pretty excited about it, and I was very flattered.
"I’d rather people see me as an intelligent woman," she adds. "But it’s not bad if I’m attractive."
Hill, 30, never had a plan to be a TV anchor. In fact, there weren’t any career thoughts of the news.
"I think broadcast journalism was my fourth or fifth major," she says of her B.U. days. "I had some writing professors who said I was doing well in writing, why not move into journalism. So I did."
While in Boston, she enjoyed the club scene - M-80, Avalon, the Paradise.
"Then on a different night I would like a good Irish bar," she says laughing. "You had to be well rounded."
But the journalism bug bit hard. She landed a post-graduation job at the fledgling technology-based cable TV station ZDTV in San Francisco, which morphed into Tech TV.
"I did everything there," she recalls. "I learned how to hone my writing skills, I learned better how to put together a package for television. I learned how to produce a story, how to produce a newscast. And I was allowed to grow a little bit more on air.
"I never started out with the goal of being on air," she adds. "I wanted to be a producer. Maybe it’s because I like to control things a little bit. But I never wanted to be just another girl on TV. I thought I was smarter than that. But they sort of threw me into it, and it was something that I felt comfortable doing."
After a friend got a job at CNN, he told everyone he knew to send him a tape to pass along. Two weeks after Hill sent hers, she got a call.

"They flew me out for this whirlwind 24 hours of interviews and audition," she says. " And a couple weeks later I got a job offer."
Hill’s answer is immediate when asked about the responsibility of TV news.
"To present people with the facts, to do it in an unbiased matter, and to let people make their own decisions. But to make sure they have the information that they need to make an informed, educated decision."
As far as her entertaining presentation of that news, she says, "I’m telling a story. I think that’s just me. I’m not acting. You’re just getting Erica, and that’s the way I happen to read the news."
Yet she knows that, as a news anchor, no matter how controversial a story might be, she has to suppress any of her own opinions on a subject.
"That’s my job," she insists. "If I can’t do that, maybe I need to find a job as someone who has an opinion, doing something else. It can be difficult, because everyone has an opinion on something. But you won’t know what mine is, if I’m doing my job well."
She does, however, take part in choosing - and sometimes nixing - stories.
"Because there’s that sort of controllable person inside of me - but in a good way - I like to be involved in the show. It’s important to me that I’m comfortable with what goes on the air because my name is on the show, and it’s my face on the air."
Things are going well personally as well. Hill and her husband are expecting their first child in mid-November. And she admits that the pregnancy has given her new reasons to reflect on the state of the world that she regularly reports on.
"It’s become something that my husband and I talk about a lot," she says. "But you realize that at any given time in the world there are always atrocities. That’s terrible, and I wish I could change that, but I can’t. I can do my small part by making people aware of what’s happening. And maybe spurring them to action in some way."
"Prime News with Erica Hill" is on CNN Headline News weeknights from 6-7 p.m.

0 comentarios:


Don't think for me. Don't assume what I want to hear or read. Give me facts. Give me reasons. But not yours. Bring me debate. Enlighten me. Today, accountability is masked behind anonymity; bylines are hidden by zeros and ones. Everyone publishes; everyone is "in the know." Ethics are non-existent. Speculation is king. The truth is masked and a hostage. Empowered by our minds, WE ARE THE FREAKSPEAKERS!


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