Shari Anne Brill, TVFirstLook
Imagine a war correspondent dodging bullets, shielding themselves from nearby explosions, with killers running amok and world leaders avoiding their microphones. Former CNN war correspondent Kyra Phillips lived that life for years. She won accolades (and sparked some controversy) for her in-the-field coverage of wars like the Iraq War.
But there's another, drastically different side to Kyra Phillips. Kyra is the mom to two-year-old twins. These days, she's steering clear of war zones for a softer, gentler television gig. She's hosting HLN's new daytime TV show Raising America with Kyra Phillips (weekdays 12noon), a news-talk hybrid where Kyra discusses world news from a parent's perspective.
Kyra spoke with TVFirstLook about Raising America, her storied journalism career and the minefield that is daytime TV.
TVFirstLook: You’ve jumped into a very crowded daypart with a daytime talk show. Why'd you take the plunge?
Kyra Philips: We are focused on relating the news of the day from a parent’s perspective. As parents, we all have the same issues. Already, we have many male viewers who tune into our show. And we have many viewers who aren’t parents tuning in.
TVFirstLook: You’ve had a long history reporting on hard news, including being a war correspondent in some very dangerous places. How are you dealing with the transition to this lighter format?
Kyra: I am very excited to be doing this show. It doesn’t feel like work. I spent my entire career going to war zones around the world. Now that I am a parent, Raising America allows me to combine my life as a journalist with being a parent and raising a family.
TVFirstLook: You say, “Parents see the world differently." How do you report news with that in mind?
Kyra: We take news coverage and put a spin on it.
For example, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, we learned of two women in Georgia who previously were non-gun owners. They had spotted a trend regarding more moms wanting to buy guns to protect their kids. They opened up a range where moms can learn how to shoot. We wanted to know why, as moms, they would do that?
Krya: Social Media is key. We have a very active presence there and started looking at, and reaching out to mommy and daddy bloggers. We tapped into that voice and what they’re saying. We follow tweets and will put them in our show and sometimes will have people call in. It puts a real human perspective on the issues.
TVFirstLook: Your show has been interrupted a few times for breaking news coverage of the Jodi Arias trial. How does that impact your show?
Kyra: The Jodi Arias trial is a big news story. A young Mormon man from a conservative religious background, who had been repressed, meets this woman and runs amok. It taps into a bigger story.
How do we talk to our kids and how do we go about having an open dialogue with them about their sexuality? If parents don’t talk about this with their kids how are they going to know what’s going on?