Connect with us
Barrett News Media Summit 2024

BNM Writers

Fox Nation Has Provided Abby Hornacek With Rewarding Experience

“Every day is different,” Hornacek said. “That’s what I live for.”

Avatar photo

Published

on

A strong work ethic, faith in people, and knockout good looks can all help you get a career in broadcasting. But you still have to earn it.

Abby Hornacek has a vast array of experience in media at 28 years of age. She said her experiences at Fox Nation have been extremely rewarding and have offered her access to fascinating experiences. 

“Every day is different,” Hornacek said. “That’s what I live for.”

Her show PARK’D on Fox Nation just dropped season six. 

“We visited five new national parks this season,” Hornacek said. “We did a very special show on Yellowstone.”

During her career Hornacek said she and her producers take topics and flesh them out to the fullest degree possible.

“Sometimes we deal with news-related topics,” she said. “We have an expert on the show who can explain how something works. We had a guest who explained the midterm elections in detail. People wonder how things work. People have a curiosity about many things. We show how something has worked, how it has changed.”

On PARK’D Hornacek said she went to a national park in Kentucky that had a dairy barn. She said she got the chance to milk a cow. 

“They made special ice cream out of the milk and I got to hang out for the day,” Hornacek said. “They told me if I ever wanted to come back, they had a place in the barn where I could stay. I thought it was my calling. I called my mom and told her I think I want to be a dairy farmer.”

During Covid, Hornacek said she discovered a silver lining, despite all the pain and inconvenience the pandemic caused.

“I was able to connect with my family,” she said. “I have two brothers and we were always close, but we really started to listen to each other when we were isolated.”

Hornacek said people have a tendency to take the family for granted, with all the daily obligations. 

“We’re all caught up in the speed of life,” she explained. “When you’re younger you have this big idea of what you want to do. I don’t know if I dreamed of something super-specific in a career, but I knew I wanted to work with genuine people. I knew I wanted to be happy every day.”

Also during Covid, she took the opportunity to take on her father in sports challenges. 

I went home for a few months and I think it was a blessing in disguise,” Hornacek explained. “I told my dad we had to get outside as we were going stir-crazy in the house. We had strange competitions we just came up with on the fly. Like throwing a basketball at the curb and letting it bounce back into a big garbage can. My mom was forced to film it all. We didn’t have a basketball hoop. 

Really? No hoop? 

Her father Jeff Hornacek was a professional basketball player for 13 years, many of those with the Utah Jazz.

A former NBA star didn’t have a hoop at his house? That’s like Michael Phelps not having a swimming pool at his house. Like a chef not having a stove.

“My father is a very nice guy,” Hornacek said. “People ask me about him all the time. I tell them as good as a basketball player he was, he’s even a better dad. My mom too. I’m blessed with wonderful parents.” 

Hornacek said at the tail end of her father’s playing career, she recalls going to games. Her father played alongside NBA Hall of Fame player, John Stockton.

“Lindsay Stockton was one of my best friends,” she said. “Karl Malone’s kids were there too.  I never thought about it as going to a game. It was always going to the place my father worked.  After a game, it was just like he was coming home from his job.”

A very athletic woman, Hornacek said she played all sports. 

“I just loved them. At one point my mother asked if I’d thought about going into a career in sports broadcasting. I was super shy. I had to overcome that, exercise muscles to gain confidence. “I’m not the most outgoing person. I always had my friends, my sports. I didn’t want to give speeches. Never thought I’d be doing what I am now.” 

She credits her athletic career for helping her get out of her shell. In college at the University of Southern California, Hornacek was a journalism major, with a sports media minor. 

“In my first experiences with the journalism classes, I felt I didn’t really want to do it,” she said. “I immediately switched my major, sort of questioning things. The classes in writing were so strict. If you strayed from the curriculum, you were penalized. I wanted to do my own research.”

She eventually switched back to journalism, but still felt the curriculum was parochial. 

“I knew I had to learn about structure with writing, but I didn’t like that I wasn’t able to introduce myself.  But then I switched back to my former major. I had an internship with Fox sports before I graduated.”

FOX Nation will host its fourth annual Patriot Awards on Thursday, November 17th as the streaming service nears its four-year anniversary. The event will take place at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida at 7 p.m. 

A portion of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to the American Red Cross in support of Hurricane Ian relief that impacted thousands of Florida residents. 

“I’ve been going for the past several years,” Hornacek said. “What we do at Fox Nation. We honor people who are everyday heroes. We have the Grammys, Emmys and other award shows. This show is about what good people have done in their community. It’s very inspirational and it gets emotional at times. Last year we honored the parents of troops killed in Afghanistan. People tend to learn about their lives.”

Hornacek said her main goal in her career is to connect with people. Her faith has been a companion throughout her life. 

“I say a prayer before I go to bed at night,” Hornacek said. “God’s light shines through me. I’m not saying I’m great at what I do. I remind people there are great things out there. No matter how stressed we get, I like to offer a glimmer of hope. That’s the goal of PARK’D. I’m blessed to work with people that are genuine. I’m around so many smart people in the industry.”

Both of her parents raised three children in the church. 

“In recent years my faith has grown,” Hornacek said. “I went to an all-girls high school and went to church every week. My parents never forced us to go to church. They told me my life had been so blessed, so many people don’t have it as good. That’s not a coincidence, that’s God. Be grateful for everything you have.” 

Another reason Hornacek loves her job is she gets to go everywhere around the United States and has seen pretty much all of it.

“I love to travel and get to see our great country,” she said. “When I grew up we were always outside hiking, camping. We never really played games inside. I look forward to coming home and doing those kinds of things. Now I live in New York. It doesn’t come naturally to live in a big city. I’m more of a back porch, beer in my hand, and listening to crickets kind of girl.”

Subscribe To The BNM Rundown

The Top 8 News Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox every afternoon!

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BNM Writers

Proof That Both CNN and Fox News Manipulate Their Audiences

Playing with numbers and technicalities is a function of what the media does today. Since the average person just reads the headline, viewers will likely move on if it confirms their own bias.

Published

on

When news organizations collide, journalism loses. Last week, CNN posted on X saying “US inflation cooled down in January, offering some relief for Americans who have suffered through the steepest price hikes in four decades.” The same day Fox News posted “BREAKING: Inflation rises faster than expected in January as high prices persist.”

While these are seemingly opposite statements, both can be true at the same time. More importantly, both of these outlets are manipulating their audience.

People like their own opinions and want those opinions verified by others. This is what social media has done to news: You read the post, see your opinion is valid, and then move on to the next clickbait (confirmation bias). More importantly, both of these tweets are true because one is based on an estimate, and one is based on actual numbers.

Looking at CNN, while their post on X seems positive, their business headline is a little less positive, “Inflation cooled last month, but some price hikes continue to cause pain.” The change from tweet to headline is striking. One says Americans are getting inflation relief, the other says inflation continuing to cause pain. In today’s world of “Read the headline and move on,” this is why people feel CNN lies. Its post is in conflict with the headline— even though both are true statements.

It’s not until you read the article that people can see how this is possible. The outlet notes overall inflation did cool when comparing January 2023 (6.4%) to January 2024 (3.1%). Four sentences into the article it says, “CPI rose by 0.3% in January.” It goes on to break down why inflation is still high and causing pain in the pockets of Americans. Although the X post is factually correct, people on the right side of the political spectrum feel CNN is untrue because they see the inflation problem in their bank account.

Meanwhile, the Fox News X post and Fox Business headline are identical, “Inflation rises faster than expected in January as high prices persist.” However, the keyword here is “expected.” Inflation did cool year-over-year. However, because Fox is comparing the January 2024 number to what experts expected the number to be, what they have posted is factually correct. This nuance is sometimes lost on readers.

The article does not mention inflation is down year-over-year. However, nine sentences into the article, the business outlet says, “Inflation has fallen considerably from a peak of 9.1%.” The nuance of “expected” combined with the lack of mentioning year-over-year inflation is down is why the left side of the political spectrum believes Fox lies.

Let’s be clear, neither CNN nor Fox News have lied (on this one specific topic). They both chose to present the same data differently. It also needs to be noted, CNN and Fox News are not the only outlets that do this. They all do. Playing with numbers and technicalities is a function of what the media does today. Since the average person just reads the headline, viewers will likely move on if it confirms their own bias. The problem is twofold.

  • Facts are no longer direct but skewed to fit a narrative.
  • Some viewers accept headlines and posts without diving deeper into the article.

We have been trained to share a headline without reading the article. We’ve known this since 2016 when Columbia University and the French National Institute found 59% of shared social media links were never read. We’ve gone from headlines selling newspapers, forcing people to read the articles, to headlines being shared on social media, but people won’t read the articles.

This is only a small part of why The Messenger failed: neutrality. The sentiment of unbiased news was well-intentioned. However, America has lacked unbiased news since 1987 when the Fairness Doctrine was abolished. Many on the left believe this has helped right-leaning outlets. This is false. Not only has it benefited both sides of the aisle, it can be argued the progressives have benefited more than the conservatives (but that is a different article for a different day).

When news outlets collide, the American public loses. Not because we lack news, but because we lack the ability to read the full scope of the issues in one place. Outlets are not forced to present all sides of the political argument or present the entirety of data sets. Additionally, news is not being fully read. Headlines are now king. Shares, clicks, and likes keep the lights on in newsrooms. Most importantly, facts are now nuanced. This forces debate instead of continuity and cohesion.

Subscribe To The BNM Rundown

The Top 8 News Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox every afternoon!

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

BNM Writers

Does Dealing With Criticism Ever Get Easier?

Engage in the content of the criticism and ignore the rest – or at least take the high road. If that gets difficult, end the conversation.

Published

on

A photo of the word Truth written on a typewriter

Thick skin. If you work in media, you gotta have it. If you don’t, you either won’t last or you won’t sleep – or both.

Even if you are neutral politically, super nice, and in it for all the right reasons, there always will be people who criticize you, and some will even make it personal.

Having “thick skin” is a cliché I’ve been thinking about and dealing with for years. I find it fascinating that, somehow, I am way more sensitive at home than I am at work – and by at work, I mean on the air for hours every day.

Even the angriest of listeners are engaging, and engagement is what I want. Sometimes, it can throw a show off-balance, but if handled properly, it should never fully derail you.

Over the years, I have modified my professional behavior, perspective, and attitude, yet my foundational approach has not changed. It began with my first full-time television job when a journalist/mentor of mine told me not to ever act interested in ratings. Rather, he said, focus on my performance and content — the rest would take care of itself.

In my first two anchor/host jobs, it worked wonderfully. I immersed myself in the job, and the ratings were strong. I thought it was a mandate to always take this approach, although in retrospect, I was probably more lucky than good. Regardless, following that mantra actually allowed me to learn my craft and not be overly aware that ratings mattered.

Ignorance was journalistic bliss.

Flash forward to 2024 and it all seems rather naïve, but I think the approach really works well with criticism, too, whether it be on social media, through phone calls or even with fellow hosts.

Just a quick note on nuance: Look at the sentence four paragraphs above – don’t act interested. Looking back at the guidance given by my mentor, his point also seemed to be that even if you are laser-focused on how a show is rating, don’t make it a major topic of conversation, and don’t let people think it defines you as a broadcaster and journalist.

All of it may seem like advice from Fantasyland, but in an indirect way, this approach also makes me less vulnerable to criticism. I simply don’t focus on it too much, and over time, it stopped bothering me even if I did focus on it. Make sense?

Of course, it’s not as if I like it when a listener rips me or the show, either directly or on social media; but I never engage emotionally, and if I do respond in any way, it’s usually content-focused.

That’s the key.

Engage in the content of the criticism and ignore the rest – or at least take the high road. If that gets difficult, end the conversation.

You have the conch. Never forget that.

Ultimately, you’ll feel better, especially knowing you did not take the bait and handled it professionally – no need to create any more tension than is already out in the media eether.

That brings me to the moment a host of a show on my station was sharply critical of an interview I had done, saying it was soft, and not holding the guest (a sitting U.S. Senator) accountable enough.

Specific questions were put forth that absolutely should have been asked, according to the host, and honestly, it was used as a chest puffer for that person to show why certain guests were scared to come on that later show.

And … I thought it was great.

Great?

Well, maybe not great, but I actually had no problem with it. First and foremost, they were talking about it, which is good. When I can provide that kind of grist, it’s good radio. It wasn’t always easy to listen to — I was still in the office doing some booking — but for some reason, it did not bother me. This from a guy who gets a one-second side eye from my wife of 20 years, and I think our marriage is in trouble.

In the end, a few of the criticisms were helpful, believe it or not: One or two of the suggested questions put forth on the later show should have been asked.

It’s all part of the balance I seek to create a place where members of both political parties feel comfortable coming on our network. I always reserve the right to ask difficult questions, and I do ask them (apparently not enough for some), but I also try and be balanced and manage relationships.

It’s delicate, and sometimes, elicits criticism – sometimes deserved. Meanwhile, I just focus on the content, naïve as that may be.

Subscribe To The BNM Rundown

The Top 8 News Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox every afternoon!

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

BNM Writers

CBS Mornings Scores Big Post-Super Ratings Win

CBS Mornings became the most-watched program from 7-9 a.m. in total viewers for just the second time ever for a CBS morning news show.

Doug Pucci

Published

on

A photo of the CBS Mornings logo

The historic ratings milestones continue for CBS as a result of Super Bowl LVIII.

Less than nine hours following what turned out to be the most-watched telecast in U.S. TV history to date (120.25 million of the near-124 million watching Super Bowl LVIII did so on CBS), CBS Mornings became the most-watched program from 7-9 a.m. in total viewers for just the second time ever for a CBS morning news show.

For the Monday, Feb. 12 edition of CBS Mornings, which featured co-host Nate Burleson from Las Vegas, the site of Super Bowl LVIII, and a visit from Jon Stewart in New York to promote his Daily Show return (which generated great ratings milestones of its own later that night), it delivered 2.9 million total viewers including 654,000 within the key 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research. It marked its best total audience and demo figures since Feb. 4, 2022.

CBS Mornings topped ABC’s Good Morning America, the usual morning news viewer leader, by a mere 7,000 viewers; it also outdrew NBC’s Today (2.86 million) by 49,000 viewers.

CBS also bested ABC in A25-54 by +103,000; the sixth time CBS Mornings has led over Good Morning America this season based on the key demo.

This was not the first time a morning show benefited from a halo effect of what the network had aired the night prior. Mar. 8, 2021, was the first time CBS won in the morning. It was the day after Oprah Winfrey’s primetime interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had aired which drew 17.1 million viewers for CBS. The Mar. 8, 2021 edition of CBS This Morning featured an exclusive interview with Winfrey and the premiere of never-before-seen clips from the Meghan and Prince Harry discussion, had delivered 4.793 million viewers with 1.026 million of them in the 25-54 demographic.

The program changed its title to CBS Mornings in September 2021.

For this 2023-24 season, CBS Mornings has the smallest deficit margin in viewers with ABC’s Good Morning America since the 2017-18 season and the tightest margin in A25-54 ever.

Subscribe To The BNM Rundown

The Top 8 News Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox every afternoon!

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement
Advertisement

Upcoming Events

BNM Writers

Copyright © 2024 Barrett Media.