Elizabeth Sanchez is the host of the award winning national PBS series A Place of Our Own. A Place of Our Own is an educational and innovative program nominated for a day time Emmy Award in its’ fifth season.
She is a multi Emmy Award winning Journalist and a 18 year Veteran Reporter and has worked as a News Anchor and Reporter in Charlotte, NC, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, and in Dallas.
As a Dallas based correspondent for CBS News, Elizabeth provided national coverage of such stories as the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, the Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and Scott Peterson trials, hurricanes, wildfires, the White House, and the Grammy Awards. As an investigative reporter she has uncovered consumer fraud and provided valuable information for viewers.
She is working on her second book on balancing motherhood.
What is the greatest lesson a novelist can learn from a journalist?
When a journalist covers a story they often become an investigator. Asking many questions of witnesses, friends, relatives, acquaintances in order to get the facts. I often compare it to piecing the puzzle together. A novelist can take a reader into the story with true facts, finding out the details of a particular location where the story takes places. Sometimes the smallest details make all the difference.
How can a shy or inexperienced novelist prepare for or shine in a media interview?
Practice in front of the mirror and try not to use the word ummm. Always answer the question and remember, it’s just a conversation.
What was the most challenging aspect or biggest surprise you faced while writing your book?
My book is a collaboration from various journalists from around the world. For television, reporters write short stories, one to two minutes tops. My challenge was to get the journalists to write longer then they’re used to. I wanted them to give more facts then they would for the nightly news, tell about what it took to get the story/interview, and how they felt. That’s why the sub-title is Behind the Scenes and Off the Record, the Untold Stories from Broadcasters.
Novelists struggle with making our characters come alive through senses and emotion, and as a reporter you have the need to perfect the opposite technique. What tricks do you, as a journalist who faces tough, emotional situations, use to turn off your emotions so you can report factually and objectively?
In Watercooler I talk about how difficult it can be to turn off your emotions when you’re covering a tragic event. I write about covering the case of Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother who killed her two children. For weeks we were reporting that her two boys had been kidnapped, then we find out she was the one who killed them. I felt betrayed after putting her sobbing story on television and I was heartbroken for her two little boys, her family, and her community. I held back tears as I reported on her confession.
We’re all human and sometimes it can be difficult to remain objective. Obviously when it comes to reporting on politics, you mush remain objective. As reporters we have a job and responsibility to allow viewers, readers, and listeners at home to form their own opinions.