Inside a conversation with Brooke Baldwin


Courtesy of Brooke Baldwin

Brooke Baldwin is a CNN anchor who hopes to inspire women to be involved in politics and journalism.

“Hi there, welcome to the Newsroom, I am Brooke Baldwin,” are the words said everyday at 2pm by CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin. On air, Baldwin is a tough, no-nonsense anchor, but off air, she conveys a different persona.

Baldwin had been aware of journalists and journalism since high school. She found the careers of people like Katie Couric and Jane Pauley to be very interesting, but it wasn’t until college, when she interned at CNN, that Baldwin really discovered her passion for news. “Being in a newsroom, hearing the clickety-clack of a keyboard, people running papers to anchors on set, having this front row seat to what was happening minute by minute was exhilarating. It was then that I knew I wanted some part of journalism,” Baldwin said.

Although Baldwin interned at CNN, it wasn’t her first job out of college. Baldwin started on a small local level and worked her way up to where she is now. She started her work in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she covered the University of Virginia and crime, among other things. “I’m a big fan of starting small because you are going to make mistakes. There was this one time I was doing one of my first liveshots outside of a jail, and there were all these men screaming at me. I remember the anchors talking to me from the studio, I was standing out there and I was just a total deer in the headlights, I froze. I was on the blooper reel that Christmas at my TV station, but, that’s a good thing because hopefully only five people were watching it,” Baldwin said.

A while after this mistake, Baldwin was promoted to the weekend morning anchor. She would go into work around 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and she was truly a one woman newsroom. She would write, edit, backtime, as well as roll the teleprompter with her foot. Baldwin then moved to West Virginia, where she would morning anchor her show, as well as produce and anchor her noon show. Then she went to Washington D.C.; while there, she was a crime reporter at night and a feature reporter in the morning. Eventually, Baldwin was hired by CNN, first as a correspondent, and then she became an anchor.

I’m a big fan of starting small because you are going to make mistakes.”

— Brooke Baldwin

Baldwin has been working at CNN for ten years; she has reported on some hard events, as well as some large events that have happened. Although there is no typical day as an journalist, Baldwin’s schedule is very full. She wakes up around 6-6:15 a.m. and starts reading the news. “Everything from Wall Street Journal, Washington Post,, to the Daily Beast, to checking Twitter, and the New York Times. I’m reading all kinds of things, and I have a sense of what the big stories of the day will be. I’m reading all these pieces not only to see what’s happening, but who’s talking about it. Like, who would be good to have on my show?” Baldwin said.

After she finishes reading, Baldwin gets on the phone and talks with her executive producer. They talk about what they think should be included in the show for the day. Because Baldwin’s show takes place in the afternoon, they understand that breaking news can change the plans they created in the morning. After her phone call, Baldwin works out. After her workout, Baldwin gets on another phone call at 9 a.m., this time it is a network wide call with the CNN President. On this call they go through what is going on and who is covering what topics for the day. Once the phone call is finished, Baldwin prepares for her show. “Then I’m in hair and makeup, which is the magic room. I mean, I walk into CNN with my hair sopping wet, looking like a crazy person, so they put me together. As I’m in hair and makeup, I have one of my producers briefing me in person about what guests I’ve wanted or people on my team wanted, like who’s confirmed, because we start from scratch everyday. So who’s confirmed, who’s looking like they could confirm, and what segments we should start talking about,” Baldwin said.

The best thing is when people surprise you, and when they surprise you, you need to be open to it and just go in that direction.”

— Brooke Baldwin

After hair and makeup and her briefing, Baldwin works in her office. While in her office, she works through different guest segments, talks with her team, and writes the questions she will ask her guests. Ten minutes prior to her show, Baldwin changes into her clothes for the show, gets on set, then she is on air for two hours. During the two hours, things can go unplanned. When there is breaking news, the teleprompters go blank and Baldwin ad-libs what she is being told through the earpiece; she interviews new guests that are relevant to the subject. After the show, she hangs out in her office and does any other work, then she goes home, and checks her emails at night.

Aside from anchoring, Baldwin has worked on multiple series, her newest being American Women in Politics. “I had the idea myself. I had covered the 2016 presidential campaign––I went to rallies and saw a lot of young women at these various rallies. I knew something was happening…[I] covered the Women’s March in Washington with thousands of women, and I was in the middle of it. I just knew something special was happening with women,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin went to her bosses and shared her idea of covering women in America. She ended up getting together with the CNN digital team to help make her idea happen. Her first season was focused on women in things like fashion, film, and music. Her second season focused on politics, and the number of women running for office. In her second season, she covered women who have the potential to make history if they win their races. She also interviewed an African-American woman who still had her original poll tax. “I want young people in this country who don’t realize everything that women, women of color, had to go through to vote. We need to remind young women that it’s a right and it’s a privilege,” Baldwin said.

Aside from using her series to inspire all women, Baldwin wants young women interested in journalism to be courageous. “I would say be curious––whether you’re doing something related to journalism or eating lunch with your girlfriends––be the person at the table asking lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask, ask, ask. Don’t be afraid to try and get to the bottom of something, be the inquisitive…Just be respectful. Be respectful and have an open mind. Try not to walk into something thinking you know what they’re going to say. The best thing is when people surprise you, and when they surprise you, you need to be open to it and just go in that direction,” Baldwin said.