The 30 Most Impactful TV Newsers of the Past 15 Years: Robin Roberts

By A.J. Katz 

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To mark the 15th anniversary of TVNewser this month, Adweek honored the 30 Most Impactful TV Newsers of the Past 15 Years, spotlighting the personalities and execs who were instrumental in the industry’s incredible decade-and-a-half evolution. TVNewser will be presenting expanded versions of each honoree’s interview.

Robin Roberts:

  • Job now: Anchor, Good Morning America (ABC)
  • Job 15 years ago: Anchor, SportsCenter (ESPN); contributor, Good Morning America (ABC)

Biggest way TV news has changed since 2004: Good storytelling is good storytelling.  How it is received, how it is consumed, that is different.  Are there people that are actually sitting at home at 7 a.m. watching?  Not as much, but they’re going to still see us.  They’re still going to see Good Morning America – so I think that is the biggest difference.  I was just thinking the other day – I’m a student. I always watch us and so I remember, I used to set my VCR.  And then I used to set the DVR.  And now I go online and watch segments.  So I even watch it differently.  So can I be surprised how other people consume news and television?  But the bottom line is if you don’t have the content, if you don’t have the good storytelling, that’s something that will not change.

Favorite professional moment of the past 15 years: The [GMA] bus tours. I remember with the bus tour down in Mississippi, it was on my local affiliate where I started in television. And my mother and father and sister had one of those cheesy GMA signs.  They were the audience, and the local news replayed that show forever. I’m saying, “How can you replay a news show?” but they did.

What do you know now about the business that you didn’t 15 years ago?

One thing that the many lessons that Diane [Sawyer] has taught me that you want to – and I know you’ve heard me say this over and over again but I always attribute to Diane and I love it:  You want to as a journalist in whatever we’re doing is for your story, for your piece to create a reaction that leads to action.  And so that, to me, I don’t know why that always stays with me that no matter – it doesn’t matter how short or long or serious or not serious or what we’re  doing— that you just want , and you can tell when there’s a reaction.