Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer reported live from Paris, with around the clock reports on a variety of shows including Fox & Friends, The Five and The Kelly File. The America’s Newsroom co-host is no stranger to covering devastation, as he reported from ground zero during and after 9/11, spent the summer of 2005 covering the aftermath of the London terrorist bombings and was even embedded among soldiers on numerous occasions.
Hemmer is back home and returned to FNC’s New York studio for today’s edition of America’s Newsroom. We caught up with Hemmer for 5 Questions about Paris, working in the field and how his sportscaster roots help during live breaking news coverage.
TVNewser: You typically host a studio show every weekday, but you’re clearly comfortable in the field. Which do you prefer?
Hemmer: Both. And I’ve always felt this way. From our New York studio, we have the opportunity to cover the biggest stories on that day, every day. On the road, the challenges are different. But your understanding of the story is greater because you’re so close to it. It’s tactile. I’ve thought this for years: having the opportunity to do both is the best gig in cable news.
TVNewser: You received some attention for comments you made after President Obama’s news conference in Turkey. Down the road, would you like to have an O’Reilly-like prime time show where you’re free to inject opinion?
Hemmer: I’m very pleased with the position I have.
TVNewser: Having covered the attacks of September 11, 2001, and their aftermath, what’s the sense you get from the people of France and their resolve to fight this compared to the sense you got from Americans after 9/11?
Hemmer: For now, the French are united in their determination to hit back. And hit hard. The bigger issue is that suicide bombings have now come to a major Western capital city. The terrorists proved they could do it. Most of the killers appear to have been raised in Europe and able to travel without notice between numerous countries; and they did it freely and openly. All of Europe is now examining this policy.
TVNewser: A lot of times anchors will travel to cities where major news breaks and leave after a few live shots. But you stayed in Paris for a week. How did you decide how long to stick around?
Hemmer: As a team, we try to gauge the story day to day, sometimes hour to hour. What you find on these big, international stories is a constant twist and turn that nobody can predict. It might go quiet for several hours, or even a day, but it can ignite at any time as it did during the raid on the apartment building in St. Denis north of Paris.
Hemmer: In sports broadcasting, you’re trained to see an image on the monitor, process it through your brain and communicate it with words to viewers. It’s the same with breaking news: think on your feet, stay nimble and take the viewers through it. And no one does it better than my colleagues at Fox.
Need more Hemmer? We went Out to Lunch with the FNC anchor back in September: