HLN’s Michaela Pereira gives former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson a lot of credit for shedding light on the issue of workplace sexual harassment. “It takes a great deal of courage to do what she did,” Pereira said. “I was hoping that those attitudes had died off. I’ve been lucky enough that people don’t mess with me much.”
Pereira along with HLN anchors Robin Meade and Erica Hill were asked about the fast-developing sexual harassment accusations against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.
“It’s infuriating that someone would make you feel that your talent wasn’t enough,” said Meade who added that in her 15 years at HLN, and time in local markets before that, she never came across any of that kind of sexism. “To know that someone else claims they went through something like that, for me, it was eye-opening.”
“I’ve never been subjected to it. I really haven’t witnessed it. But I hope it makes everybody think,” added Hill, whose new afternoon show on HLN debuts in the fall.
Meade, Pereira and Hill were among the HLN anchors to speak to TV reporters, including Adweek’s Jason Lynch, gathered Sunday afternoon for the TCA summer press tour. HLN executive in charge Ken Jautz, in his second go-round running the network, says the new lineup is about getting back to HLN’s “traditional news roots.”
“We found that there is a great appetite for news in general,” Jautz said, adding the network needs to differentiate itself from CNN. “Our shows are a different tone, style and sensibility than CNN,” with more local, sports, and entertainment coverage. HLN also skews younger and more female than CNN, Jautz said.
This summer, between the election and other news, “there is a definite appetite for a higher story count” and wider range of stories, said Hill. “That’s where our strength comes in.”
Pereira says she looks at HLN as “counter programming to all the political coverage that our partner at CNN is doing.”
Hill, who covered the conventions for HLN, says the 2016 race lends itself to a storyline that is more than just politics as usual. “We got used to a formula” but “that’s been tipped on its head” this year, she said. “It’s forced us to change the way we look at it” and “broaden the range of people we talk to.”
“This is no longer a 24-hour news cycle. It is a minute-by-minute development.”
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