I have to say, I am very excited. My next interview is with the host of One America News Network’s Tipping Point. She gave an epic speech this year at CPAC 2016, she is unafraid to speak her mind, and she has no problem with calling out the stupid. She is Liz Wheeler and it is an honor to have her featured on this blog. Check out our interview. Her answers are in bold.
Where did you grow up?
Sharonville, OH. It’s a suburb outside Cincinnati, about 25 minutes from the Ohio river. Nice, homey Midwestern town… and you know what they say about Ohio weather? If you don’t like it, don’t worry, it will change entirely 10 minutes later.
Are you a hometown hero after becoming a news anchor?
Not that I know of!
In High School, did you ever write stories for your school paper? If so, what kind?
No, but I did write some pieces for independent blogs in high school… my first published piece was on “erring on the side of life” when it comes to the question of when life begins and when abortion is appropriate (or not). I was so excited about it.
You went to Pennsylvania State University, did you, at that time, consider getting into journalism?
I majored in Political Science and minored in Homeland Security. I knew before college I wanted to be involved in politics (in some aspect other than political office). During college, I didn’t think about broadcast journalism, but I loved to write and speak and planned on doing speaking tours in the future.
You started out as a Social Media strategist, how did this help prepare you for your career as a news anchor?
It helped me understand human nature and how people react to different types of stories, words, phrases, and calls to action. How to be concise and communicate my point in very short bits… sometimes as short as 140 characters. I learned how to frame a story somebody might not otherwise notice to fit into their particular frame of reference so they become interested in it because they relate to it.
In 2012, you became a member of a local Board of Zoning Appeals. Was that an elected position? If so, what kind of campaign did you run?
It’s appointed by the Mayor, not elected. Candidates for appointment are recommended by a City Councilperson, questioned by the Council and Mayor, and then appointed. That was the process I underwent: recommendation, questioning, appointment.
I’ve heard you comment that you were a young member of that board. Was it intimidating being a young city official?
I’m so proud of the fact that I was the youngest person to serve as a Commissioner on the Board of Zoning Appeals in our city’s history! No, it wasn’t intimidating, although a couple times some older members tried to influence me in ways… let’s just say ways bossier than they used on their peers… but I’m not easily intimidated, so I just did my thing, thought for myself, spoke up when I had something to say, and voted the way I knew was right.
In 2013, you wrote a chapter in Young, Conservative, and Why it’s Smart to be like Us. How did that come about?
After the 2012 elections, I felt defeated and frustrated with the GOP for their lack of communication with my generation, millennials, so I decided to do something about it. Conservatives often are stereotyped as old, white, angry men, but I knew so many young people who weren’t old, white, or angry… and who were conservative for many, many different reasons! I decided if we wanted something done right, we should do it ourselves, so I rounded up 13 other young conservatives with different backgrounds, and we decided to share with others why we were conservative. We wanted to help change the narrative.
Tell us a bit about your chapter. What did you focus on?
I focused on my personal reasons for wanting to be conservative. My desire to be independent, my desire for security. Conservative values in government… limited government power and influence in my private life is the best way to protect my right to live the life I choose, for me to be able to support myself and express myself, and for every other American to make those same choices for him or herself. Security wise, too, small government is the best way to be able to “start over” if something goes wrong, and having the ability to save money instead of government taxing it away allows me the security of knowing if I fail, I have a backup plan, and gives me the opportunity to share that money with others when they fall on hard times as well.
When the book was published, how did it feel seeing your name in black and white?
It was cool! I was proud of how it turned out at the time, because we put it together and published it ourselves, and we were happy with the response it received.
Are there any future plans for a book by Liz Wheeler?
I hope so! Not any concrete plans at the moment, but down the line I hope to answer yes to this.
How did you get in contact with One America News?
I paid $19.95 to send a LinkedIn InMail message to the owner. Two months later, he called me up with a job offer.
Tell us a little about your audition. Were you nervous?
Not really! I don’t get nervous very easily. I was less nervous and more hyper aware of trying to absorb all the details of the studio and how it worked because I hadn’t had experience in broadcast journalism before this. For the audition itself, I read some copy they prepared, then they asked me questions on a few political topics as if I were the guest. They even tried to put me on the spot once or twice! It was fun.
Did One America News initially offer you the anchor spot on Tipping Point, or did that come later?
I was offered the job on the spot.
When the cameras started rolling and you had to say, “Hi, I’m Liz Wheeler,” for the first time, what went through your mind?
I don’t remember! Haha. That’s a good enough picture. It was surreal. I felt like I was out of my own body. My voice sounded like it was coming from somebody else, and I was sure I would get tongue tied and forget to ask the guest questions. Fortunately, nothing of the sort happened.
Tipping Point covers several topics including politics, economics, pop culture, social media, and social issues. How do you determine the topics that you cover for the show?
My producers and I choose the topics before the show. We pick topics that are relevant to the news of the day, current events, political issues that are always relevant, and interesting stories that people want to know more about.
Have you ever encountered push-back because you were a woman? If so, how did you overcome it?
Sure, every woman does. But these days, fortunately for my generation of young women, the sexism we encounter is from individuals. There’s really no institutional sexism in America anymore, but there will always be jerks who are prejudiced or biased against somebody for something… whether it’s because of gender, race, age, you name it, there’s going to be somebody out there who treats you badly for some characteristic. I just ignore it. I know jerks who say sexist things to me have no influence over me. I know jerks who try to discredit me because I’m young or female or just scared because people are listening to what I’m saying. I know jerks who use my gender as a reason to treat me disrespectfully have no control whatsoever over my freedom and opportunity to pursue what I want in my life and my career. So, I make fun of them sometimes on air, but I don’t let it bother me.
Is there a particular woman whose life inspired you during your journey?
Oh, I’m going to have to go with the cliché here, and say my mom and my sisters. I come from a big family, and my mom is a wonderful example of an independent, smart, strong, loving woman. She was a professional before it was as common for women to be so, and left her high paying job to raise and educate five children. She’s amazing. She’s always been an equal partner to my dad, she raised my sisters, brother, and I to be well-rounded, educated, productive members of society, and she embraced the choice she made (while respecting other women who made different choices) to stay home with her kids instead of continuing her career in computer programming.
Do you have any advice for women who want to become an anchor/journalist?
Yep: read! Read everything you can get your hands on. Fiction. Non-fiction. Biographies. History. Comedy. News articles. Anything that interests you. Read it, devour it. It will teach you how to write, how to speak, how to articulate your points effectively. It will fill your mind with facts and the ability to argue and think critically. Then write, and try to get your articles published wherever you can, even if you don’t get paid at first.
That concluded our interview. I would like to say that Liz Wheeler is very gracious and I want to thank her for appearing on this humble blog. I learned so much from our brief correspondence. Check out her show Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler on One American News Network and follow her on Twitter @Liz_Wheeler or on Facebook.
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