Yesterday Don Lemon did a Q & A over at REDDIT. One bit of news he revealed is he'll be sitting in for Joy Behar on HLN while she's on vacation later this month. Here's more of what he had to say:
How much input do the anchors have in what news is presented? Could you write your own piece? Could you refuse to cover a story (for religious, political, or other reasons)? How far in advance do you know what you are presenting for the day?
Lemon: The anchor input depends on the anchor and the show. I have a ton of input. I insist on it. Some producers don't really like it but that's too bad. At the end of the day it's my face and reputation. I do write my own pieces. I can refuse to cover a story but that comes with the possibility of getting disciplined by the company I work for. I did question and refuse to cover a story when I worked in Chicago. I got a lot of flack for it. But it's ok. It taught me a lesson, made me stronger and more savvy about how to refuse a story without management even knowing it. Sometimes I have days even weeks to research a story. Sometimes, like this weekend with the debt ceiling, you just go in the air and follow the breaking news, no teleprompter, no scripts, just a laptop and my producer in my ear.
One of the most amazing things I've ever seen on television happened during your interview of supporters of disgraced pastor Eddie Long. Did you know you were going to bring up your own history of abuse, or did it just happen?
In a world that is so scripted and fake, it felt very genuine and authentic. Your honesty was
Lemon: First of all thanks. It was completely organic. I had no idea I would say it. I think I said it because I had been writing about my own experience with abuse for my book. So it had been on my mind and it just came out. I ‘m glad you were comforted I have a fun book stack of responses from that moment. Thousands of people wrote me with similar comments to yours. I hope it made a difference.
What did you think about Jon Stewart's segment on you? That was pretty amazing. Go you for actually caring about the news instead of the stupid gimmicks.
Lemon:I was totally stunned by the Jon Stewart segment. I was watching the show with a friend and was tweeting about the prior segments. Then mine came on and we both said in unison, "uh oh." Then I tweet 'OMG' and walked out of the room.. My friend said come back, watch it. I didn't for about an hour and after I had 2 beers. Then once I watched I thought it was funny and complimentary. I just didn't want to make my co-workers look like the brunt of the joke. But they understood and sent me nice emails. the truth is I love real news and my team knows it. We pride ourselves on gimmick-free news. In fact we ask ourselves when pitching ideas, 'is this too gimmicky?' And if the answer is yes, we drop it. I think the viewer may watch a gimmick for a while but then they catch on and tune out. It really is ok to be smart and present a smart newscast.
I took a tour of CNN's headquarters last year. Being in such close proximity to you guys while on air was really cool. Whats the most awkward thing a tourist has gestured to you through the glass?
Lemon:Yikes.. a lot of fun things happen.. I usually start the wave with the tour groups. One woman saw me and started jumping up and down and obviously she wasn't wearing any support up top. And just last week this woman freaked out and started kissing the glass so I went over and kissed back. I love the tour groups.
Is it hard to separate personal political convictions from the objective persona most anchors put on?Is there a congressperson that is particularly intimidating when it comes to interviews?
Lemon: It’s not hard for me to separate it. I’m probably one of the most objective people you'll meet. Also, I don't associate with any political party so that makes it even easier. Politicians are politicians and politics are politics. That's the story on that. To answer the 2nd part of your question, I’m not intimidated by anyone. The only person who came close to intimidating me was Stephen Colbert. I knew his character from tv, but when we started to really have a conversation I realized that he's not the character and it kinda caught me off guard. I said to my self, I know the character but I really don't know the man. So I had to readjust quickly.
When did you first feel like "hey i have a knack for this news reporting stuff"?
Lemon: I’ve known since I was a kid, but I didn't really know what to call it. My mom says I asked A LOT of questions to anyone who would listen. I’d even go over to other people's tables at restaurants. Guess I was 'born this way' or at least born to be a journalist
Don Lemon has the potential of becoming a great name for an alcoholic beverage. Answer me this, Don Lemon, what would you put in a "Don Lemon"?
Lemon:Wow. That's an awesome question. A lil vodka, some lemonade, a splash of sparkling water for bubbles and I'd stir it with one of my fingers. Aaahhh refreshing!
This is just a short sample of the q & a session. There is much more to read at REDDIT. Just follow the link.