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Earlier today I was asked what I thought about President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers (search) for associate justice of the Supreme Court (search). While it is important to study her in great depth before deciding (review her career, her views, her writings, etc.) I will tell you two things that strike me — and which I like: 1) She is not a judge; and 2) She is not from Washington, D.C., (even though that is where I practiced law for so many years.) My desire for a candidate lacking those two characteristics is not to take from Chief Justice Roberts but rather to keep pushing for diversity on all fronts (not just gender and race.)

I want a court with people from all walks of life and all experiences. It is true, for instance, that the legal culture in Washington, D.C., is different from that of West, the Midwest and the South. We don't need nine justices who have come from the same mold. Picking so many judges out of one environment is not representative of our country. So, I don't know about you, but I am happy not to have nine clones of one legal culture.

Likewise, judges all tend to think alike having had the same legal experience. Thus it is refreshing to have a non-judge, non-Washingtonian candidate. This brings a different view to the decision-making, even if that difference is subtle. A decision is better if more — all — viewpoints are considered in arriving at that decision. As an aside, while a legal degree is very helpful, there is no requirement for the Supreme Court that one be a lawyer.

I anxiously await details about Ms. Miers' legal career so that I can decide in my mind whether she is a good choice. I hope that in her legal career she represented people on occasion and not exclusively corporations. I hope that she has done some real estate closings, automobile accidents, divorce, contract disputes, age, race, employment, sex discrimination, criminal defense work, etc. — so that she brings to the bench an experience that will broaden the Court, not limit it.

One final note on the matter of the nomination: It is obviously not my vote — I am not in the U.S. Senate. Of course I do hope and expect a thorough and fair process. I hope she gets a vigorous and complete examination since that is important for all of us. We need to know her views on so many important issues.

On Tuesday we take the show back on the road — we are headed back to New Orleans for a special show. I am anxious to get back to New Orleans and the area to compare it to what I saw the first trip we made there shortly after Hurricane Katrina (search) hit. It is impossible to forget what we saw in the days after Katrina hit the city. I am also curious to see what efforts are being made or will be made to rebuild New Orleans.

I am told our accommodations in New Orleans are considerably better than last time. Last time we slept on a bus parked on a highway that runs through downtown New Orleans (adjacent to the Superdome and near the Convention Center.) This time we have hotel rooms — but I think there is some issue about the water and whether we can use it.

On Friday I posed some questions to you... here are some of the answers from viewers:

E-mail No. 1

1) How many people do you think work on our staff? 4-5 directly on staff. You draw resources from FOX News or free-lancers as needed. Answer: Actually we have about 10 full time.
2) How do you think we select our daily topics? Regular news budget meetings, likely around a table, freeform with open input from everyone. And sometimes like Paul Harvey, you do the stories that are in everyone else's "deleted" box. Answer: Yes, this is true.
3) Why do you think we some times stay on one single topic for a period of time like Natalee Holloway? Or Hurricane Katrina? Because the story deserves it, plain and simple. You make it the "big" story because you can. It's the lead because you say it is. Answer: Interesting view.
4) Do you think the staff prefers to travel to stories or remain back in the studio? Depends on your last trip! My guess is you're road warriors, and the best place to be is where the story is.
5) How many hours do you think we work a day? Minimum 12-14 on average. Answer: Probably right
6) Do you think we care about our work (the topics, the people) — or is it just "show biz?" Yes, otherwise you wouldn't put up with the crappy hours, the huge amounts of time spent away from home, working on holidays etc. You all could make much more money, find out that Thanksgiving is a holiday and leave work each day at 5pm outside of news. You love it, or you could also be crazy. I believe the latter may be true! Answer: Maybe the latter.
Brian Olson
Highlands Ranch, CO

E-mail No. 2

1) Guessing that "On the Record" has a staff of about 20 people.
2) Daily topics are probably chosen first by "breaking news" and then by updates on major and minor ongoing stories.
3) Think you stay on certain stories based upon public interest as reflected in ratings.
4) Would guess that the majority of news people prefer to travel to stories to get a "first hand" understanding.
5) Would estimate that you work 13 to 15 hours per day.
6) Appear to care very deeply about the majority of stories I've seen covered by you and others on your program.
Jane
San Diego, CA

Jane also added this to her e-mail: (and my responses)

Having responded to your questions, I am wondering if you can answer some of mine:
1) World News: In order to view world news I have to watch foreign based channels. I am unable to find the same scope or quality of coverage on U.S.-based news channels. Do you know why U.S.-based news groups have so little coverage of World News?
ANSWER: I supposed we could always do better. During the run up to war, and during the war, we did "wall to wall" coverage of international events... we did stories on Pakistan, Afghanistan, France, Germany, Britain, Iraq, Israel, Syria, North Korea, etc. Of course we do much less about those countries now but I would like to more about them. Fortunately you have the Internet available to you so that you can do some research yourself about countries that interest you.
2. Investigative Reporting: Through the years I had seen wonderful, dynamic work done by investigative reporters but have seen little done in the last 10 years or so. It seems that reporters are "following" not "leading," What has happened that investigative reporting has so significantly diminished?
ANSWER: Print journalists do a lot of investigative reporting. I have friends at Time, Newsweek, etc., who spend weeks on stories. The electronic media — TV — does considerably less. I suppose the reason is that in TV we try to bring you to the news and turn on the cameras so you can see it for yourself as it happens. It is a different reporting methodology. From time to time we do more investigative reporting but I agree with you that this is not done routinely in television like print.
3. Judith Miller: As journalists, I anticipated that the coverage about Judith Miller refusing to reveal her source would have been a story followed closely by the news media. (Now that she has been released today, I see CNN covering the story and MSNBC. Nothing on FOX yet, that I've seen this a.m.) Why was this story not followed by the news media? (By News Media... I mean Cable TV news.)
ANSWER: As I read your note (early Friday afternoon,) and as I respond, she has been out of jail less than 24 hours so we have not had much time to analyze the story — although it has been reported many times on FOX News that she is out of jail. This fact is all over the media so reporting it ad nauseam without more information does not advance the story. It is also in newspapers. We learned about her release early evening last night and it was reported on FOX as soon as we were able to confirm it. At a minimum I saw it on a news cut-in last night — and it was probably on our 10 p.m. show cut-in but I can't be positive. I think the BIGGER story is what she tells the grand jury. Did someone violate the law? At this point, we don't know what she told the grand jury. Maybe she will make a statement telling us.

E-mail No. 3

Hi Greta,
I enjoy your "show" but unfortunately I don't see it very often as my schedule gets me home toward the end of it and I'm asleep before it re-runs here in California.
I did catch a lot of your fire coverage last night as it's very close — much too close to home. The miracle is that it's burned 20,000 acres and only one home has been lost (so far). Talk about emergency preparedness! I know a lot of families that were evacuated at 3 a.m. Thursday morning and believe that many wouldn't have gone without the recent experience in New Orleans and Houston. I think we all have a new appreciation for life over property.
I enjoy reading your blog nearly every day and find much of it interesting and many times amusing.
Here goes...
1) How many people do you think work on our staff?
Full time, 6 or 8, not including the production staff for the broadcast.
2) How do you think we select our daily topics?
You choose the topics that have the most interest to your audience (ultimately verified by ratings). Much like the National Inquirer (circulation increasing) as opposed to the New York Times (circulation decreasing). Know you audience, cater to it.
3) Why do you think we some times stay on one single topic for a period of time like Natalie Holloway? Or Hurricane Katrina?
Because that's what the cable news audience wants to see (again, verified by ratings).
4) Do you think the staff prefers to travel to stories or remain back in the studio?
I'm sure you'd all rather be in the studio and home in your own bed at night, but the audience believes they'll get more complete and thorough coverage of a story if you are there. I believe it, but I can't honestly say it's true.
5) How many hours do you think we work a day?
I doubt that you get in much before 10 a.m. and you're show's over at 11 p.m. in the East, so it's a long day. I'll go for 12 and guess that you get a good meal or two in the middle somewhere... at least when you're home.
6) Do you think we care about our work (the topics, the people) - or is it just "show biz?"
I really believe that YOU do care about the people and the topics, but, even though it's called "news", it's not news as we used to know it. Cable news is a relatively new breed of news and it's ratings driven and will live or die by the bottom line.
Best of luck!
Franklin Cofod
Westlake Village, CA

E-mail No. 4

1) In D.C. — I would say about 12.
2) Round table discussion w/producers — Greta has the last word.
3) It is important that you give the viewers what we want — we want details.
4) I would bet traveling to the location in most instances — but there is no place
home.
5) At least 14 hours.
6) If you wanted to do "show biz" you would be with "ET," "Access Hollywood," etc.
Patsy
Rancho Mirage, CA

E-mail No. 5

1) Staff: About 20
2) Topics: I think you cover whatever is the hottest, newest, of interest to most viewers
3) Length of coverage: Sometimes because you receive response from listeners… sometimes political
4) I think you prefer to travel to stories: It makes a better presentation on the air
5) You probably work about 12 hours a day
6) Of course some care and some do not. Just as with most other things
Linda Marlow

E-mail No. 6

OK, Greta — I'll take a stab at your questions.
1) My guess is that 10 people or less work on your staff — with access to other FOX resources if needed.
2) I would guess you select the topics based upon breaking news, prior stories still ongoing, personal likes (like your love of animals) and possibly who might be available to speak with.
3) I'd say you stay on one topic for a long time due to the magnitude of the story (Katrina), the button a story pushes in you and your staff, feedback from viewers and no other huge stories going on.
4) On travel, I'd bet that the married staff would prefer to stay at home with their families. Single people might be more adventurous and like the travel. Also, I realize that the attitude has to be that travel is sometimes necessary to do the job.
5) It appears that you guys work 12-15 hours a day.
6) You guys would have to be robots not to care one way or another about some of the topics you cover. The "show biz" part comes in trying to convey the story to the audience, and the "story" is NOT how much you guys care (like some other shows and reporters).
I have always appreciated your show and your comments and good judgment. I get more out of your show than I do many of the others. And thank you for writing the blog every day. I find it fascinating to read what goes on behind the scenes and what you think about certain situations and stories.
Keep up the great work!
Paul Hankinson
Arlington, TX

E-mail No. 7

Hello Greta and/or "On the Record" staff:
In reference to the "Turning the Table" questions, as follows my thoughts...
1) How many people do you think work on our staff?
Over 25 people, unless you share cameramen, editors, assistant producers with other FOX shows.
2) How do you think we select our daily topics?
By evaluating the options vis-à-vis objective audience¹s potential interests.
3) Why do you think we some times stay on one single topic for a period of time like Natalee Holloway? Or Hurricane Katrina?
Target audience interest on the subject is the main selection motivator, but every day your producers must ask the question, what else is out there that could surpass the story we have already been covering for a few days, that could be of greater interest to our national audience, not only today or tomorrow, but in a few days? How could we take the lead on new news? If no other alternative is available, you stick to your single topic story.
4) Do you think the staff prefers to travel to stories or remain back in the studio?
I think your staff knew what they were getting into when they accepted employment with your show. They are probably hooked on the adrenaline rush that comes from all the tension and stress created by demanding, inflexible timelines of completion.
5) How many hours do you think we work a day?
14-18 hrs.
6) Do you think we care about our work (the topics, the people) or is it just "show biz?"
You have to care about the total offer (topics, people, audience, advertisers, personal satisfaction that comes from delivering a good show, etc.), otherwise, where would you get the energy to go on and on, to produce a daily show in moving locations, with little sleep, and a lot of physical and emotional draining work pressures?
I am not in the U.S., and we don't get FOX News here, however I do read your gretawire.com page and see your videos. I don't think your show has the "show biz" sophisticated glamour image. Also, and not intending to be offensive, the show¹s host is very intelligent, eloquent and extremely professional, but she looks like a normal, unassuming person and not like a Hollywood bombshell. So "On the Record" comes across more like a cable news show and not an entertainment production.
Best regards,
V. Canto
Dominican Republic

E-mail No. 8 — I am just printing the answer to question No. 1 of the e-mail below... when I saw the number of how many is thought to be on the staff, I almost fell over:

Here goes:

1) How many people do you think work on our staff? I believe that approximately 80 people work on your staff alone.
Paige A. Roden

ANSWER: Paige, you were pretty much on the mark in answering the other questions... but 80 is almost 10 times our staff.

E-mail No. 9 — Likewise, the next one I only printed part of the answer:

1) How many people do you think work on our staff? 25 to 50
Sherry Hays
IL

E-mail No. 10

1) How many people do you think work on our staff?
Hmm... personal staff? 5 or 6.
2) How do you think we select our daily topics?
(a) Experience (what was hot in the past)
(b) What is being reported by other news agencies.
3) Why do you think we some times stay on one single topic for a period of time like Natalee Holloway? Or Hurricane Katrina?
(a) Continued interest by high number of viewers.
(b) Host's personal sentiment.
4) Do you think the staff prefers to travel to stories or remain back in the studio?
Remain in the studio. Too much travel can be tiring.
5) How many hours do you think we work a day?
12 or more.
6) Do you think we care about our work (the topics, the people) - or is it just "show biz?"
FOX News seems to care more than the other news networks. I see much more expression of emotions on FOX. Of course, being bombarded every day with many issues may dull some senses, but y'all do care.
Brandi Bradford

E-mail No. 11 — only part of George Holmes' e-mail below is posted:

Greta,
Here are my guesses in response to the questions on your blog: I estimate about 30 regular staffers are required to produce your show
George Holmes

Send your thoughts and comments to: ontherecord@foxnews.com

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