Fox Comes to FSSA

Fox news anchor, Bill Hemmer, visits FSSA to talk to journalism students.

On March 2nd, 2017, Fox News’ Bill Hemmer, co-anchor of America’s Newsroom from 9am to 11am ET, visited Frank Sinatra School of the Arts to answer student journalists’ questions. His presence and social stature immediately captured the attention of more than 75 students in the 1st floor black box theatre.

Mr. Hemmer’s more than 20 years of experience in the field has led him to report on political, social and global matters. Although Mr. Hemmer stressed that his work is strictly based off facts and traditional reporting, it is apparent that his emotions still play a big part in his profession.

In the world of news and media, where feelings are considered taboo because it can alter the story at hand, news and media is ironically heavily emotionally driven. Mr. Hemmer began his presentation with an anecdote about his experience growing up and how he became exposed to his profession, which easily caught the attention of the students.

Bill Hemmer with FSSA journalism teacher, Mr. Scheiner.  Image by Kat Muchuelas.

Mr. Hemmer found his love for journalism in an unexpected way. It was not his first career goal, but when he was later accepted into an internship at a news studio as a sports correspondent, he finally found his calling. However, he felt there was more that he could do.

At that moment in his life, he decided to take his $15,000 in savings and go backpacking around the world. Mr. Hemmer explained how the unique experiences and challenges was what he was craving for in life. Being a sports correspondent seemed finite to him, but Mr. Hemmer stressed that at least he got to experience a journey. He had a destination to go toward, despite being unconvinced that that was what he wanted to do with his life.

A dose of fresh air filled the room as the the audience, primarily seniors, related to their next step in life: College.

After returning back from his journey he was hired by CNN and spent a decade immersed in the news that engulfed it. He became a household name on CNN and in family televisions around the world for 10 years, until he left for Fox News.

Mr. Hemmer’s love for his career is undeniable. The news that surrounded his life created great fortune for him to see people change and grow before his very eyes, but also the misfortune to see the tragedies in life. His resume consist of reporting on major events like the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Students from various studios and disciplines made up the audience. Image by Kat Muchuelas.

As the presentation delved deeper into various aspects of journalism, the topic of CNN vs. Fox arose the most among the audience. The effects of the 2016 presidential election has led the public to choose between either a more liberal outlet, CNN, or a conservative one, Fox. However, Mr. Hemmer was able to spread a common message across, that news outlets have common goals: They will report on only facts and support freedom of the press, he said.

“I think Mr. Hemmer was very well spoken. He’s correct that today we live in a world where we just go off of headlines and fall into the traps of click bait. Fake news is a whole new concept. Fake news used to be a misprint of the wrong date, today it can be a completely fabricated article. The only way to combat this issue is to read, which I totally agree with. It’s not enough to go to one newspaper and think you know everything about a topic; in order to gain full insight we must look at the different networks and see what they are all saying,” said Caitlin Brozen, a senior instrumentalist and writer for the school’s newspaper The Bennett.

The topic of “fake news” has focused the media’s battle with the Trump administration, but nevertheless, Mr. Hemmer insists that it is more important than ever for people to read everything they can. Some outlets may seem more conservative than others, but they all have unity in sharing factual information.

“It was a great experience for all of my journalism students and everyone who participated in the conversation,” Mr. Scheiner, the FSSA journalism teacher, said. “It is my job to not only create an interest in journalism for students, but to help create intelligent consumers of media and the news. That’s why I expose my students to a variety of news outlets and viewpoints in my class.”

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts thanks Bill Hemmer for the large scale interview, and it is apparent that the student body would like more events like these to occur. The aspiring journalists that filled the black box theatre could feel the drive of reporting through their bodies as Mr. Hemmer spoke out on his life.

“I really appreciate his visit. Getting tips and responses from someone as successful as Mr. Hemmer has allowed me to view journalism with more depth and from all perspectives,” responded Giselle Flores, a senior instrumentalist and fellow writer for The Bennett.

– by Carmen Su ’17