Tips From The Top: One On One With CNN’s Alisyn Camerota

I spoke to Alisyn Camerota, co-host of CNN's New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman and author of the novel Amanda Wakes Up, about her journey and her best advice

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Photo credit: Mike Cohen
Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your story and what you have learned from your journey to date. First things first, though, what is something about you that your fans don’t know?
Alisyn: I’m not a morning person, and am reminded of that every morning when my alarm clock goes off at 3:30am.
Adam: How did you get here? What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?
Alisyn: I’m a big believer in failure being a catalyst for success. In my experience, success is rarely a straight line. I’ve worked at a number of promising places that turned out to be dead ends but there’s no way to know that until you’re in it, so I’m not sure how you avoid those. The trick is to harness your frustration to light a fire rather than wallow in despair. In previous jobs, any day that I was stymied I sent out a resume or scheduled a meeting with a prospective employer or planned a networking lunch. Failure is motivating!
Adam: In your experience, what are the common qualities among those who have been able to enjoy success in the television news business?
Alisyn: A killer work ethic. No one ever became successful working 9-5. And in TV, there also has to be a certain egotism, or at least hamminess, that allows one to want to be seen by millions.
Adam: You and many of your colleagues have been outspoken in the fight against fake news. How can those in the news business, as well as consumers of news, address the challenges in the current environment?
Alisyn: In giving dozens of talks about journalism on my book tour for Amanda Wakes Up, I get this question a lot. I think for a long time we’ve had the luxury of taking the integrity of the news for granted, but in this climate we can’t. It’s time to re-educate people about the stringent rules of journalism , such as, the process of vetting sources and stories, and our roles as watchdogs of government – and how not all media outlets are following those. Even in this hyper-charged news cycle we know a ton of stuff that we don’t report, sometimes for months, until the research and the vetting are complete. The best defense against fake news claims is good journalism.
Adam: Who have been the biggest influences in your life and why? What are the best lessons you have learned over the course of your career that are applicable to those who will never earn a living in front of or behind the camera?
Alisyn: My mom was one of my biggest influences growing up. She was remarkably non-judgmental about my friends, my clothes, my career choices, etc. In my job, I try to emulate that philosophy with every guest I interview. I try not to have set judgments and pre-conceived notions of how they should answer questions. I’d say a good practice in life is to be open-minded and receptive to new perspectives.
Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?
Alisyn: To thine own self be true.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Alisyn: I have always liked writing. It helps me collect my thoughts and preserve them. Writing my first novel Amanda Wakes Up was harder than I ever expected, but also very gratifying. And, like childbirth, luckily you forget how hard it is enough to want to do it all over again.

Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?
Alisyn: If you’re not in pain, be grateful and try to ease the suffering of those who are.   

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