Molly Henneberg is one of the many political reporters whose lives have been hijacked by the runaway train known as the 2008 race for the White House.
Not that she minds the pace.
"I love it! I know everybody says it's crazy and everybody is ready for it to end. But I'm not!" she said, just prior to the Montana and South Dakota Democratic primaries in which Sen. Barack Obama was able to secure enough delegates to make him the presumptive party nominee.
By all accounts she's held her own covering the fractious primary campaigns, and her coverage has gotten her the kind of attention that young reporters need to graduate up the ladder at their news organizations.
Henneberg, 34, has been a general assignment reporter at Fox News since 2002, having paid her dues at far-flung local stations including WHAG Hagerstown, Md.; WPBN Traverse City, Mich.; and WBRE Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa.
Politics is her most constant beat, being based in Fox's Washington bureau. She covered the 2006 mid-term elections and the much less electrifying 2004 nominating primaries, which though not as long as these primaries, were not without their drama. But being a general assignment reporter means you go where the news happens, and Henneberg has covered some big stories in the six years she's been at Fox. Her assignments have taken her all over the Western Hemisphere and beyond.
She went to Canada in 2006 for a thwarted terrorism plot. She covered last year's harrowing massacre at Virginia Tech University; Fox says she was the first reporter on the scene. In 2002, she covered the Arlington, Va.-area sniper attacks. But she's also been to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq twice, spending several weeks there in 2003.
"I got 18 hours' notice that I was going to Iraq for six weeks," she says.
By the time Henneberg went to Iraq, the major combat operations had cooled. Nevertheless, she says, "getting out of the bureau and on the road helps you get a sense of what you're reporting on. It's no longer some distant place."
NO PLANTS OR PETS
The on-the-fly lifestyle doesn't suit everyone. Pets are out of the question. Plants are not recommended. Relationships can become fraught with guilt and frustration.
"When you're a road warrior, it is difficult," Henneberg concedes.
But she's managed to make it work. Henneberg is engaged to a Marine Corps lawyer. They met at a Christmas party, were engaged by March and are planning a July wedding—out of the way of the Democratic and Republican conventions in late August and early September.
"It was just one of those meant-to-be things," she laughs. "But we really did have to schedule it around the political calendar." —Marisa Guthrie