Beverly Hills, Calif.—HLN anchors Robin Meade, Michaela Pereira and Erica Hill took on everything from the Turner network’s identity, Gretchen Carlson’s takedown of Fox News architect Roger Ailes and this relentless year of news during a panel at TCA summer press tour.
All three women stipulated that they hadn’t personally been subjected to sexual harassment, but all praised Carlson for her bravery. Meade called the allegations “eye-opening” and labeled Ailes’ alleged behavior “archaic, outdated and rude.”
Pereira praised the “chutzpah” of Carlson. “It takes a great deal of courage to do what she did."
Ken Jautz, exec vp of CNN U.S., said the network has needed to differentiate from CNN, especially during the day, when Meade, Pereira and Hill are on from Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York, respectively. HLN has more regional news, sports and weather than CNN, offered at a faster pace and with a higher story count. It also skews younger and more female than its older sibling.
The current stream of news about politics, terrorism and race relations, not to mention regular sports blockbusters and entertainment news, suits the network. “This has been one of the craziest summers I can ever remember,” Hill said. Viewers need to know a lot of things, but not necessarily in blocks that last for part of all of an hour, as is the case on other news networks. Especially in the case of the fast-moving election, Pereira said, “Because there’s so much stuff happening, you have to pick the very best stuff.”
The effort to create a video-fueled, fast-moving news feed suggests a heavy reliance on social media. But the anchors all said they look skeptically at social media messages, even from accounts with vast followings. “We try not to let what’s trending drive our coverage,” Hill said.