Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sharon Reed Interview: Chic, Savvy and Fabulous

Sharon Reed
Chic, Savvy and Fabulous
Interview Part: Part 1

Sharon Reed is funny, savvy and poised when it comes to connecting with her audience.
Sharon Reed is an Emmy nominated anchor and strong reporter known for her crisp story telling, and many exclusive and engaging live reports. From breaking news, to politics, sports and of course, entertainment – she enjoys delivering it all!

If you are wondering what the real deal behind “What's the Buzz,” is here is the scoop. Night after night, we invite broadcasters into our homes like a beloved family member. We listen attentively to what they have to say, literally hanging on to every word they say. In this interview, we bring you the 'buzz” about Sharon Reed.

Cyberspace has bridged the gap between the print and electronic media and AALM had a one on one with Cleveland's own Sharon Reed who shared some insight on personal branding and her career.
Sharon began and popularized “The Buzz” segment seen nightly on 19 Action News and today she cannot go anywhere without folks asking Sharon, “What's the Buzz?” Sharon is the host of 'Triv TV,' one of the most talked about debates on Cleveland television. It airs twice daily.

Our publisher and editorial team had an intimate interview with Sharon Reed, one of Cleveland's rising anchorwomen. Read and learn what makes this newscaster such a unique and interesting personality.

Interview Part: 1

In your career, what have you learned about personal branding that can help other young up-and-coming journalists, especially aspiring anchors?

Right now, my advice would be to take advantage of social media. You can't be afraid of it. Trust yourself that you're responsible... and go for it! Facebook, Twitter (@SharonReedHost), personal blogs (http:// is all part of it. It's an incredible way to break through that glass wall and connect with viewers one on one. It also allows for good interaction with viewers and instant 'sampling.' We know right away which stories are important to them and we can get after it! No need for expensive research. Believe it or not, I actually have had anchors tell me that they won't do Facebook and they don't get Twitter. They say "It's not who I am." I don't mince words, I tell them - "You're in the wrong business. Retire. You're going to be left behind." These are the same kinds of folks who didn't want any part of a live shot back in the day. "Why are we going live when the scene isn't active?" Where are they today?

Who is the one person who you would like to interview one-on-one and why?

Well, I'm a news junkie - so it might be someone like Les Moonves, the head of CBS. I want to know how he decides a program will be successful. I'd ask what peaks his interest, grabs his attention. I really want to know. I'd go after an interview with Bill O'Reilly, who I worked with on my first job. He's exactly how he comes off on camera. So, even though his personality is huge and so is his ego - he's actually authentic. And I think that's why people watch. He has millions of viewers because he makes an impact with people. They either love him or love to hate him... but in the end the word "love" is still in there and that equals winning ratings. Mostly, when choosing an interview subject, I want someone who is going to say something... let their guard down... have an opinion. So, would I turn down an interview with President Obama? Heck no! But his responses naturally have to be more guarded, deliberate... methodical... he's not going to get crazy and say too much, especially in an election year. No one in office would be silly enough to do that (if they wanted to stay).

What were some of the key factors that led you to your career choice?

I decided to become a journalist early on. I saw someone on air who was beautiful, diverse and poised. And it was right then that I thought "Could I do that?" I knew I was curious, loved to talk and explore current events. And so I tried to figure out what was a good fit me, career wise. I am the daughter of two educators. Good people, smart people but they didn't have all of the choices that I have. I learned that there's a difference between a job and a career. A job is something you have to do. Sometimes you dread getting up and going to work. A career is truly an extension of you. It's who you are and that should show everyday.

Who is your idol that is living and why?

I don't have an idol. But there are people in the industry I respect incredibly. Oprah, of course! It's my dream to get to syndication one day - but in a way that allows for my love of news. Diane Sawyer is definitely one. She is ageless. I think her work is incredible because she has adapted, with ease, throughout her decades in the business. She's an example of excellence we can all learn from. She's beautiful, smart, still hungry and an anchor that enjoys getting off the desk and picking up the phone to get that exclusive. Bryant Gumbel is another for me. He is flawless and fearless. And when he speaks, you want to listen. CBS should beg him to come back to the Early Show. Tell him it's only temporary. Give him a blank check, authority to hire. Pair him with a capable co-host and use a flexible schedule of local CBS meteorologists to come do one-week stints on the program until one catches fire. He is so special and even though we love his HBO show, we miss him doing daily news.

How often has the topic of your participation in 2004 for Spenser Tunick's nude body of art arisen?

Not too often, actually. But I don't mind discussing it. Spencer Tunick is a deep thinker and trendsetter. But ironically, my subsequent appearance on 'Letterman' is what I'm asked about more. What was it like? What was Dave like? It was quite the experience, but one I wouldn't trade for the world. He's an excellent interviewer and he got it! Letterman knew what it was about. At the end of the day, all viewers saw was my bare butt. It could have run on PBS. And that was deliberate and in keeping with Tunick's art choice - a sea of bare butts! Letterman also got the hypocrisy of fellow 'journalists' who actually criticized my reporting in the first person and criticized the piece, without ever seeing it. If that's not the height of hypocrisy, I'm not sure what is. A writer at The New York Times was among them. Even though they actually sent a reporter, in the buff, which did the same story! I call that 'the crabs in a barrel' aspect of our industry. Sad but true. And this is one story I give myself a great deal of credit for having the courage to do...that kind of original reporting that was way outside my own comfort zone. I learned a lot about why some people find posing for Tunick a freeing experience. And the most important thing was that viewers - all demographics - seemed to understand and appreciate the work. That was very rewarding.

How much time do you devote in keeping your physique in such enviable shape?
Stay tuned for this answer and the rest of our interview with Sharon Reed. You may also suscribe to our magazine to receive your copy of this exclusive interview.

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Sharon Reed
Chic, Savvy and Fabulous
Interview Part: 2

How much time do you devote in keeping your physique in such enviable shape?

Not nearly enough! I was a college athlete.  But I haven't really done a lick since leaving Georgetown.  That probably needs to change in 2012! I do believe that staying healthy and looking the part is my responsibility on this side of the camera.  This isn't a newspaper.  Image does matter.  So I will never let myself go.  That's just unacceptable and I have too much pride in my work to fall into that trap.

How did you feel when Eric Wilson specifically called you to confess his role in 12 year old Cookie Wilson's death?

Mixed emotions honestly.  Eric Wilson is an admitted killer.  A drain on our society.  Cookie was a beautiful, innocent child.  There really is no reasonable explanation for taking her life.  It wasn't a mistake, as he insists.. in the sense that if you engage in dangerous activity, it's for sure that someone will get hurt.  But I do find satisfaction in knowing that when someone has a story to tell in this town, there's a good chance they will turn to me.  And that's the result of a ton of hard work.  I arrived at WOIO with a contract that was spelled out - I didn't have to report.  I was anchoring their 5pm.  On the first day I was put on an evening show, where I've remained ever since.  I chose to get after it, chase exclusive, and cultivate sources. Some of my reports have gained national attention. But mostly, reporting (I believe) makes you a better anchor.

During your interview with Jim Brown, NFL legend, what did you discover about him that wasn't known to the general public?

Jim Brown is a friend first. He's so interesting if you just let him talk... Uninterrupted... You learn so much about the game and life.  He's not this angry Black man. He's an insightful, passionate person. And Jim Brown is very savvy too.  He often doesn't hit you over the head with an agenda but he finds a way to take you there.

Was there a memorable moment that you can recall from your interview with Joe Jackson?

Not just one moment. Mr. Jackson is 100% difficult and that doesn't intimidate me at all.  We went round after round. It was definitely a heavyweight fight.  In the end, it was interesting, timely, and some headlines came out of it. He's such a complicated man with a brick wall up but he also was able to accomplish something remarkable and I am fascinated by that. 

What changes would you bring to television programming?

That's easy - diversity. And not just in terms of Black and white. We have some very poor programming on and some real lightweights hosting it. That's just the truth and the ratings don't lie. The same mediocre talent is recycled and repurposed time and time again... Failing upwards!  Good talent is hard to find but I think there's a way to reel it in if the same old sources are abandoned sometimes.  Diversity is important to me, not just because I'm a person of color, but because it's just plain smart. Different races, religions, ages, life experience - it all matters.  There are too many out of touch types in front of the camera and behind the scenes. 

Your profession requires a great deal of reading. What types of literature do you like to read in your leisure?

I read a ton but mostly online. I have little leisure time but I enjoy all things news, including pop culture. I like coming to work and dealing with producers who get it.  We talk throughout the day. I'm giving constant story ideas and input so we can put the best show on the air. Anchors that just read a teleprompter and don't contribute are a very strange breed to me.

What can you tell us about your dedication to raising money for autism?

Autism is something that touches so many and yet remains so puzzling.  How can we not direct our time and resources to learning more? It troubles me that families don't have more support.  It made me say - we can and should do better.

What would be your most coveted award?

I'm not into awards. I've never submitted anything for an Emmy.  In this industry, it's my opinion that there's too much money involved. The awards are basically paid for. We all laugh at the guy or gal who submits boatloads of their work in each category to collect those statues.  They have stipends written into their contracts to pay for their entries. Some end up as the only ones in their category. And when certain people win, you look at the work and say 'huh?'

What do you do when not on camera?

I'm super, super boring.  And I love that. I spend my time watching news programs, a few reality shows, and chillin with the man I love and our cute pup Bailee.

Reed is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds a Master's Degree from the  prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.


  1. Since I travel and do business in Ohio, I first "met" Sharon during/watching her evening newscast on CH19 TV news. Then I started following the station, then Sharon on twitter, then made a small contribution to one of her charitable causes, then begin to follow her and the station on FaceBook and LinkedIN. I feel like we are old friends and hope to meet her in person on day. She is a person of substance and talent, and like Edward R Murrow would say is a giver and not a taker.

  2. Where is Sharon Reed? I missed seeing her on 19 Action News!

  3. She got knocked up and had a baby

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