Being Fair and Balanced in an Influencer World
On the Record with television journalist Ann Emmerich
Emmy Award-winning WILX TV-10 evening anchor Ann Emmerich has been in broadcast journalism since her college years at Central Michigan University. Outside of a break to raise her three sons as a stay-at-home mom, Emmerich has worked hard in various roles throughout the years since to earn the credibility it takes to be a trusted bearer of news.
She’s been that trusted source in the Greater Lansing area for over 18 years. That’s an increasingly difficult role in today’s world, as TV personalities have to present themselves with journalistic veracity on social media as well. Emmerich recognizes the weight the role carries and the balance it requires.
“I got into news because I love news,” Emmerich said. “My father was in the news business as a meteorologist in Detroit. It just was in my blood. But being recognized wasn’t in my comfort zone.”
It’s hard not to be recognized when you’re not only a face on TV but also on social media. Emmerich admitted the social media part is tricky.
“You want to maintain your journalistic integrity and not make judgements, and you also have to put boundaries on how much you want to share about your personal life,” Emmerich said. “It’s a way to connect with our viewers that we didn’t have before, and I enjoy that part of it.”
The changing digital landscape can be a challenge to navigate. It was during the early days of the pandemic that Emmerich could really see the divisive responses on social media to ever-changing news on the topic. Seeing that divisiveness gave her pause — but her matter-of-fact approach got her through.
“At the end the day, I’m just a journalist,” Emmerich said. “I want to get information to people and tell both sides of the story. I don’t have an agenda other than giving people information.”
Outside of sharing any breaking local news and weather on social media, Emmerich shares recipes, photos of flowers from her garden and tidbits about her family with their approval.
“There are pros and cons to it, like anything,” Emmerich said.
Yet these days, sharing at least part of her life on social is, indeed, part of her job.
“I’m fortunate that I feel like I’m connected to my viewers, and I try to maintain that balance. I’m not a controversial person, and I feel like people who follow me do so because I try to remain authentic,” she said.
She also is more of a listener by nature.
“I just want to be a journalist,” she said. “I ask questions, and then I listen. That’s the way I’m trained to think, and that’s how I carry it through my personal life and on social media.”