“I’m thankful when people recognize me, because without their love and support, our show wouldn’t be successful.”
In this issue’s “ask,” the Elucidator sat down with one of the most recognizable faces in the Lehigh Valley, Eve Tannery, morning anchor with WFMZ 69 News. With her trademark charm and candor, Eve spoke with us of the fast changing nature of broadcast news, ambitious women in journalism, and the challenge of balancing work and family. Read on.
DN- Tell us a little about your background, were you always interested in reporting on television?
ET- My mom always said I would walk around talking with a hairbrush. This is just always what I’ve wanted to do. My parents are both teachers, so that’s kind of in my blood, but, at some point, I became infatuated with telling stories. I love delivering the news, hearing people’s stories, and, hopefully, being someone the community trusts.
When I was in college at Wake Forest, my friends were all coming home from parties in the morning and I was putting on my suit to intern at the local NBC station, WXII TV. My friend and I also created a talk show on our local college TV station called the “Eve and Alison Show” on WAKE (Wake Forest University) TV.
From there I worked at WBOC, a station out of Salisbury, Maryland. I worked in their Dover office, covering lots of political stories. In fact, I covered one of the biggest stories of my life there, a local prison scandal. And then there was a position open here. I started here on the weekends and became the reporter on the morning show and then morning anchor. I’ve been here about ten years and have been anchoring about 7 years.
DN- What’s a typical day in the life of Eve Tannery like?
ET- I get up around 2:50 am. I take a nap around 2 PM every day; it’s a must. I try to go to bed between 8 and 9 pm. Non-continuous sleep isn’t great, I know, but I do what I can to maintain a normal life, both professionally and personally. I have been known to fall asleep at the dinner table; I’m not going to lie (laughs).
I get here around 4 am, and we start reading all the scripts. When we get here, the show is almost already written. We do the show from 5 to 9 am. Then, from 9 to 11 am, I work on the guest segments. I am in charge of booking most of the guest segments. We have “Music Mondays,” “Ask the Anchors,” segments like that, and we try to give the viewers a little bit of everything.
Around 11 am, we go down to the PPL Center for our noon show. That’s fun because our studio is right in the heart of downtown so we’re in the middle of all the action. When we are finished, I go home and hibernate for a few hours. I try to squeeze in events whenever I can because I think it is very important to be involved in the community.
DN- How does it feel to be one of the most recognizable faces in the Lehigh Valley?
ET- I always think of this as just a job, so it surprises me when people are so happy to see me, but I’m so honored. When people say to me that they really feel like we are a part of their family, it is just the highest compliment. It’s very rewarding. I never mind it. I’m thankful when people recognize me, because, without their love and support, our show wouldn’t be successful.
DN- Women today work hard to balance a career and a personal life. How does your career choice affect your personal life?
ET- I have tried to build my career so that, one day, I can have a career and a family. I try to keep the weekends free to spend with my fiancé, friends and family. I think that time is very important. And, as I get older, I think about my career a little differently. I am constantly thinking, Am I lining myself up to have the best of both worlds – career and family – and for the things that will make me happy in the long run? I am thankful that I can be home by 1:30, so everyone having dinner together and things like that can still happen. I’ll just have to go to bed with my kids at 7PM.
DN- What do you see as the future of network news in the age of the internet?
ET- Our news has really had to change in recent years. People want their news immediately – they want it on their phones, on Facebook, on twitter, things like that. In recent years, we had to hire someone whose job is just keeping all forms of social media updated. We have to make sure we deliver on all mediums. It’s pretty exciting because viewers can become part of our show and participate with us via social media. I imagine we will see even more of that in the future.
DN- Do you feel that the news is slanted based on who owns the organization, for example Fox News..how does that affect local news?
ET- I think it makes people appreciate local news more. We are a family-owned station, and an unbiased station, which is very important to everyone who works here. To me, that is why WFMZ is so successful. People know they can turn us on for unbiased news and that our focus is the Lehigh Valley, so it’s all the news that relates to them delivered in a responsible way.
DN- Are there news stories you would like to see more of?
ET- When I do my guest segments, I love focusing on the unsung heroes – the small businesses that are just starting out, the non-profits doing amazing things, the children making a difference. I’d love to do more of that because those people often don’t get the attention they deserve. I also love focusing on issues that relate to women, but I’m thankful that, as an anchor, I can report on many different kinds of subject matter.
DN- Is there pressure on women in television news to look a certain way?
ET- I do feel a responsibility to be healthy and take care of myself since I am on television. I want to be a good role model, but I also try to be real. If it’s humid and I’m having a frizzy hair day, I’ll joke about it on the air.
DN- Women today still sometimes struggle to break through the glass ceiling in certain industries. Have you encountered this?
ET- No, not really. I’ve always worked hard and tried to prove myself. Because of that, I knew I could be successful. I always thought, Let me go in there and show them what I can do. You have to be driven in this business; you have to climb the ladder.
DN- Who have been your biggest influences?
ET- I would have to say my biggest influences are my parents because I always wanted to make them proud. In terms of television, I grew up watching Matt Lauer and Katie Couric, and I love the fun, spunky personality of Kelly Ripa. I admire Oprah Winfrey. I’ve had great professors. I’ve made great friends who are female leaders in the community, like Shelley Brown from the State Theatre. Then, there are people at the station who have taken me under their wing, too. So, I‘ve been fortunate to watch and observe a lot of great people and I think the combination of “all of the above” has really helped to drive me.
DN- The Lehigh Valley has really grown and changed over recent years. What do you think about that?
ET- It gives us so many great news stories, of course, and it has been really exciting to watch. The sports scene, the entertainment, the development – it has been unbelievable. It’s a lot to keep up with, but it’s fun for us as a news station, as we are able to really showcase the Lehigh Valley as a destination.
DN- You’ve told us about the road to where you are today as one of the most popular personalities in the Valley. Where do you see yourself five years from today?
ET- I am always open to opportunities. I love my job here. My goal is to maintain a balance between the job that I love, a family I love, and my own family I hope to have. This is home to me, and I’m happy and honored to be working in a place that I call home.
About the Contributors
Dawn Ouellette Nixon
Dawn Ouellette Nixon is the Editor of the Elucidator. She also pens the "ask" interview column and the occasional feature. She lives on College Hill in…
Anthony J. Marraccini
Anthony J. Marraccini is the publisher of the Elucidator and Curator/Manager of Connexions Gallery. He has been socially and politically active in the community of Easton…