The Slant Podcast

NY1 anchor Cheryl Wills cuts through the noise

By City & State |  

October 2, 2017 |  

Screenshot from "In Focus."

NY1 anchor Cheryl Wills is spearheading a new show, "In Focus," with the goal of getting to the bottom of important issues, without the histrionics of most cable news programs. Wills stopped by the Slant Podcast this week to explain what motivates her to facilitate a civil dialogue amidst all the noise.

Wills explained that the current format of "In Focus" - a thoughtful, in-depth discussion on an issue of the moment with multiple guests and perspectives - is quite a departure from what it was originally conceived as: a point/counterpoint debate show. That concept was scrapped after a particularly heated inaugural episode featuring the NYCLU's Donna Lieberman and Republican strategist Roger Stone debating President Trump's immigration ban.  

"This is not the road I want to travel down," Wills said, explaining her thought process after that episode. "I don't want people screaming at each other in this Jerry Springer kind of format where people are saying, 'Get your hand out my face!' I don't want to be a caricature. I work too hard on my reputation as a journalist."

Wills also said that while she tries to keep the discussion focused on local issues, inevitably the conversation often turns to Trump, a magnet for news even on the most granular topics.

"You cannot not talk about Trump," Wills said. "He is somehow weaving his way into every piece of Americana ... When you're so bombastic and you comment and tweet about almost everything, [he's] the president of the United States, the most powerful person in the world, how can we not include what he said?"

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