For the first installment of the 2022 year-end #AskNewser series, we caught up with various broadcast and cable news chiefs about the state of their respective networks. Installment No. 2 features broadcast and cable news anchors and hosts telling us what they consider their toughest on-air challenges in 2022 and how they expect to their shows to evolve in 2023.
We caught up with ABC News chief meteorologist and climate unit managing editor Ginger Zee, ABC News What Would You Do? host John Quiñones; CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell, CBS 48 Hours correspondent Erin Moriarty, and CBS Saturday Morning co-host Michelle Miller; CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour, CNN State of the Union co-anchor and chief political correspondent Dana Bash, CNN This Morning anchor and chief correspondent Kaitlan Collins, and CNN anchor for CNN Newsroom with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo on CNN and CNN International, and CNN Royal Correspondent Max Foster. Additionally, you can read about Bloomberg Surveillance: Early Edition and Bloomberg Crypto anchor Kailey Leinz, Bloomberg Markets: The Close anchor Romaine Bostick; Fox News’ America Reports co-anchor Sandra Smith, Outnumbered co-host Emily Compagno, co-host of the new FBN show The Bottom Line co-host Dagen McDowell and outgoing PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff.
For part one of the talent portion, personalities discuss their biggest on air challenge in 2022. Coverage of the war in Ukraine, the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, and the rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S. were among the most challenging stories for the journalists and hosts with whom we caught up.
Part two, we ask how their respective shows will evolve next year. That Q&A will publish later this afternoon.
Here’s what they had to say:
TVNewser: What was your biggest on-air challenge this year, and why?
Amanpour: The biggest challenge in 2022 for myself was going to Ukraine to cover the war which is one mostly against civilians. And going to Afghanistan to challenge the Taliban leaders about their draconian , crackdown on women and girls, as well as reporting on the women’s rights protests in Iran.
Bash: My biggest challenge this year was also one of the most rewarding reports I have ever worked on as a journalist – an hour long special on the rise of antisemitism in America for CNN. We started working on the project in March and spent about six months talking to victims and experts across the country. Rising Hate: Antisemitism in America aired in August, before Kanye West’s disgusting comments. Unfortunately, what we learned and reported became increasingly relevant and urgent as antisemitism spilled more and more into the American bloodstream this year.
Bostick: Managing through the volatility and noise of the markets. 2022 will go down as one of the most volatile years in a generation in terms of market volatility, economic variability and geopolitical risks. Demands by viewers to help them make sense of all this were enormous.
Collins: Every year in news brings its own set of challenges and 2022 was no different. I think one of the biggest, and most interesting, for me personally was reporting on President Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia while I was CNN’s chief White House correspondent. Our team was in Jeddah in July where temperatures were well over 100 degrees and women are supposed to dress modestly, even if you’re reporting outside for hours. It was a high stakes trip for the White House and as a reporter, you wanted to get the framing, context and behind-the-scenes detail just right, especially given I had covered the Trump administration during Jamal Khashoggi‘s murder and was now reporting on how the Saudi crown prince was searching for international rehabilitation.
Compagno: Anytime breaking news occurs during our hour it elevates the challenge to ensure our viewers get up-to-the-second information that is accurate, important, and communicated effectively in tandem with expert analysis. An example was June 23, when the US Supreme Court issued its decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen during Outnumbered. That remains one of my favorite shows ever – I am proud of our team’s coverage and the truly first-rate legal analysis we provided that day.
Foster: Being on air for hours of rolling coverage as it became increasingly clear that something serious was happening with The Queen without having any definitive guidance from Buckingham Palace. I didn’t want to worry viewers unnecessarily, but I also didn’t want to pretend that I thought Her Majesty was going to be okay. I had to draw on years of experience on the royals beat to read between the lines of what I was being told to get the tone right. It was all about tone, and I think we got it right.
Leinz: A constant challenge this year has simply been keeping up with a relentless news flow. It has been simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting (especially when you start work at 3 a.m.!) There have been so many rapidly-evolving stories, from the markets and monetary policy, to the war in Ukraine, to midterm elections in the US. In the first quarter, we launched one of our new shows, Bloomberg Crypto. Since then, the seismic collapses of players in the industry have been uniquely challenging to distill and capture in our programming. But at the end of the day, my colleagues and I are all news junkies- we all thrive on the adrenaline rush of breaking news. It’s immensely rewarding to know you’re providing coverage and analysis in real time and getting the news out there as it develops.
McDowell: Nothing this year compares to the work our colleagues were doing in Ukraine. Putting their lives at risk to cover the war. Ben Hall horribly injured. Pierre Zakrzewski and Oleksandra Kuvshynova losing their lives. Sitting behind an anchor desk is light-lifting when I think about their sacrifice.
Miller: I first must acknowledge that our team of producers, photographers and editors have done an extraordinary job of delivering quality work in news gathering over the last TWO years. I cannot talk about this year alone without stretching back to how incredible a pivot our teams made through the struggles and challenges of the pandemic. That being said, transitioning back this year into a new norm has been difficult because people have quite frankly reassessed their lives through the balance of just how much time and energy it takes to produce news. Our new normal is finding a work-life balance that places our commitment to our work with a value on ourselves and our families. The greatest gift of 2022 is that our employers are now recognizing that our mental health and balance are a part of the equation in overall occupational well-being! In the end, it has made the challenges through the years and the uncertainty of our profession much more bearable!
Moriarty: My biggest challenge is finding the time to properly report all the stories I want to cover. True crime, especially when it involves a trial, is complex. I don’t think viewers always recognize the time it takes to gather the facts, shoot the interviews, write the scripts, edit the pieces and confer with the legal department to make sure everything is right and fair to all parties. Reporting has become more challenging as forensics have improved and involves more science. There isn’t just DNA found at a scene, now there’s DNA in databases that can reveal a killer. There are so many cases, especially involving questionable convictions, that I wish and hope to cover, but I just don’t have the capacity to cover them all.
O’Donnell: This year, we witnessed the beginning of Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II – and keeping our CBS News team safe in Ukraine is the biggest challenge we’ve faced. Every day, our teams put their lives in danger to bring the story to our viewers – and we are so thankful. Being on the road is difficult; being in a war zone for weeks at a time, away from your family, with spotty communication, lack of showers and sharing a room with six of your colleagues is grueling. It takes a village to tell the incredibly important story of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine – and I think our teams in the field and in the bureaus are the best in the business.
Quiñones: My greatest challenge this year was interviewing the surviving family members of the 19 children and two teachers who perished at Robb Elementary on May 24. I was born and raised in San Antonio, just an hour away from Uvalde. Those families looked so much like my own family…so, this tragedy became very personal to me. And, in the midst of all that heartache – the loss of so many third and fourth grade children – came tremendous anger and frustration with the realization that it took almost 400 law enforcement officers who responded, more than an hour to break into the classroom and take down the shooter. Today, those families are STILL in the dark, wondering whether more lives could have been spared. They’re demanding justice, asking – pleading – that law enforcement agencies be held accountable. It’s been incredibly difficult to sit and listen to these stories of heartache and injustice – and not break down in tears. But, the greater good is that we’re shining a powerful light of what happened here.
Smith: As inflation became one of the top stories of 2022, and the biggest issue for voters in the midterm elections, there was a huge opportunity for me cover the economy in a TV friendly way for our audience. I challenged myself to explain the economic implications of political decisions made in Washington and identify the potential impact they would have on everyday Americans without business jargon or wonky discussions with guests. I believe this was a great service to our viewers at a time of great change for our country.
Woodruff: The biggest on-air challenge this year was fairly covering these 3 things: America’s bitter political divisions, including those who falsely deny the last presidential election result, the work of the January 6th Committee, and an election that often saw more heat than light. Internationally, of course, it was the war that Russia launched against Ukraine.
Zee: The biggest challenge on air is translating the gravity of climate science, but also the resilience and hope I get to witness as I travel the country — and world — showcasing solutions and adaptations, and the heroes working on one of the biggest problems in our lifetimes.