This morning, Nexstar Media’s cable news network NewsNation relaunched its flagship morning show, Morning in America, adding a fourth hour and an additional host to the mix.
Markie Martin, most recently a Dallas-based correspondent for NewsNation, officially joined the morning show today as co-anchor. She’ll now broadcast live out of Chicago alongside anchor Adrienne Bankert weekday mornings from 6-10 a.m. ET/5-9 a.m. CT.
Martin joined NewsNation as a correspondent in May 2020 after a stint at ABC’s Oklahoma City station KOCO. Bankert joined NewsNation in April 2021 as a morning anchor after having spent nearly six years at ABC News as a New York-based national correspondent. She also co-anchored GMA Weekend from 2017-2019.
We caught up with NewsNation’s new, energetic morning duo last week, and here’s what they had to tell us about the new Morning in America.
TVNewser: What can we expect from the two of you each morning going forward?
Bankert: This is going to be a bright warm conversation with America, not at America. With two girls who love brunch – you know brunch is longer than breakfast and you’ve got more options on the menu. I think of Morning in America as the kind of chat you’d have over brunch – something for everyone!
Martin: When I think of my friendship with Adrienne and the time we’ve already shared together on the desk, I know viewers can expect a duo that greets them with good energy and impactful stories to start their day. Viewers want morning news that informs, but they also want to feel like they’re part of their chosen news family—and I know that is a priority for both of us.
Can you discuss the importance of delivering the national news from outside the I-95 corridor each morning?
Bankert: I think it’s more about sensibility than geography now. Since working here I’ve met people from all over the country who just want to know someone isn’t going to be telling them that there’s only one way to think or that their voice doesn’t matter. Most people are reasonable and so is our program.
Martin: This very concept was one of the NewsNation pillars that sold me on joining the network—news for all America. As someone who grew up in small-town Oklahoma, I’ve often watched national news and felt like it mainly spoke to those in the big cities. People in middle-America want to feel represented and heard, too—and I’m proud to be part of a team that has put a spotlight on stories and issues that impact everyday Americans. When I think of my friends and loved ones back home, they want to know about the headlines impacting their families, their health, their wallets, their political choices…And those topics are of utmost importance to our morning team and NewsNation as a whole.
Adrienne, you’ve been at NewsNation for a couple years now. How is the culture at a start-up like NewsNation different from a legacy media outlet like ABC News?
Bankert: Absolutely different in massive ways. ABC was like coming into this established place – established programs – It was an honor to work alongside some of the pros, Michael Strahan, Robin Roberts, Diane Sawyer. I’m proud of my work there but at NewsNation, I literally helped build this show from the ground up. We had ideas scribbled on a white board and wall, and it became a show. I’m equally, if not more proud, that I can say I was part of something so new.
Markie, is there anyone in particular you’ve studied as you step into this new role? Or any good advice you’ve taken to heart?
Martin: Of course! As an on-air journalist, I think it’s advantageous to study others in the industry, but never to carbon-copy. A respected colleague I worked with many years ago once told me to watch a little bit of everything and everybody, and cherry-pick some of the qualities you like most in others, supplement with your own, and create an individual style and brand.
Some of the best television advice I’ve ever received is not to dwell on mistakes, because they WILL happen in live TV. Every show, every segment, every interview isn’t always going to be a homerun; however, each new hour and day is a chance to start again. Not to mention measurable growth is often born of mistakes and taking risks.
I have to address the ratings issue. Given how TV news ratings have fallen across the board, and the additional challenges of being at a smaller upstart like NewsNation going up against the long-established morning shows, how are you two hoping and/or trying to bring in audiences?
Bankert: Quality first then quantity. I’m going to let the bosses and marketing focus on the numbers! I’ll keep doing what I do and hold the mic for countless Americans who need to be heard.
Martin: All of us at NewsNation signed up for a marathon, not a sprint. Since our first day on air in September 2020, we have only grown, and I’m proud to be part of the only cable news network that is expanding and hiring. For Adrienne and me personally, we will continue to bring our best to that table every morning and we remain confident more and more Americans will continue to gravitate toward what our team has to offer.
Anchors/correspondents/producers prepare for a broadcast in different ways. What are your respective preparation processes?
Bankert: Prep! Prep starts during the weekend to rest up for a busy week, those days are sacred. I’m an anchor and an author/writer, and I use those skills daily and meticulously. Our team lays a foundation so that I can contextualize and make news scripts sound more conversational. Based on my work in the field and on other shows, I have a producer’s eye and I’m always looking for what the vision is big picture for the show, and how we can build on an interview or segment, then our “Morning in America” team brings it to life. Research is a group effort. I am fast at finding things, but many people help gather the background required to tell stories right.
If you’re just asking for what I do to get up so early, medium to deep stretching 15-30 minutes in the morning is almost as good as a shot of caffeine. Really. I drink hot water every day, sometimes ginger tea, and sometimes matcha. My biggest prep is doing whatever it takes to remain focused, whether that’s getting quiet, or doing more research in between commercials, because at the end of the day whether you’re stressed or sleep deprived, you’ve got to be able to think.
Martin: I prefer getting to the studio about three hours before a newscast, which means 2 a.m., to give myself plenty of time to get read-in, talk with producers and to let our fabulous hair and makeup teamwork their necessary magic! Part of the process is also understanding you can’t carry a four-hour show alone, and trusting that every producer, writer, and director has your back. It takes a village to get two anchors on-air, and our village has some of the best and sharpest in the industry. Additionally, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received that pertains to this question is to constantly be reading and watching—You never know when you’ll be thrown a situation on air where you’ll need baseline knowledge of the topic at hand.