Emmy-winning anchor and political correspondent Janine Rose is back doing what she does best — this time on WVOX 1460 radio.
When News 12 Westchester announced in 2016 that it was moving the bulk of its production facilities from Yonkers to Long Island, several bastions of local news, including Emmy-winning anchor and political correspondent Janine Rose, found themselves displaced after many years on the job. Well, Rose is back and smelling as sweet as ever, this time as the host of her own radio show WVOX. WM caught up with Rose recently, to see how she’s settling into her new gig.
Westchester Magazine: How are you settling into the new radio show?
Janine Rose: Radio was my first love in college; I said that to you earlier. Now we have it on record, it’s on record. Radio was my first love in college; I won’t deny that. I was very blessed to get into Cablevision early on in my career and to pursue a television career, which I came to love and adore. But radio is a wonderful way to reach people. I’ve known Bill O’Shaughnessy, the owner of this station, since the very beginning of my career, since I started working for Cablevision early on.
WM: Could you tell us about your new radio show?
JR: I’m here as a journalist asking people to comment on the news of the day. So I just want to make that clear. I don’t provide my own commentary. I kind of act as the catalyst, asking questions and getting feedback. We decided to call it “This Week with Janine Rose” because people do know me, and they’ve been asking where I am. And I wanted them to know that I’m back on the air, on radio. And it’s important, I think, to really look at all these issues nationally, internationally, regionally, and locally. And you heard today, you heard the show. And of course we started with the news of the day, which was the terror attack in New York City. But some weeks, it’s more locally focused. The first week, when I started the show, I had George Latimer, state senator George Latimer, on. The week after he was elected county executive, which, of course, is a change for him. And he was very insightful about taking on this new role. And so some weeks it’s more local than others, some weeks, in light of, again, the news of the day, it becomes more nationally or regionally focused. But I do try to keep a balance and have some national, some, perhaps, state information on, and I do always try to get to some issue that’s local, because I do think that’s important to people. It’s basically newsmakers on the radio. If you watched News 12, as you did, we always, every weekend, did a show about whatever was going on politically. And this is basically just more of the same. Literally keeping an eye on politics.
WM: You started as a news rep, correct?
JR: I actually started as a customer service rep with Cablevision, but then quickly, within a couple years, moved into the production department. We started taping the local Yonkers City Council meetings and started doing small news excerpts each week, and then we started doing daily new shows that just grew and grew.
WM: Do you believe contemporary journalists have had a responsibility shift from journalists of old?
JR: I’ll be honest with you, I think they have a larger responsibility, because there are so many facts and figures coming in every day that they have to sift through, and I also think there is – it’s unfair, but so many deadlines are imposed on people, and there’s this belief that you have to be the first one to report something, and I think journalists have gotten into trouble rushing to get a story to air or rushing to get a story on their website or rushing to get on Facebook. Because, in many cases, news directors have imposed on them so that “we not only want you to file a story by 5 o’clock today, but we want you to do five Facebook posts, and we want you to go on your Twitter account.” So there’s this rush to get information out, and I think we have to be very cautious that that information be accurate before we broadcast it to the world or podcast it to the world or type it to the world or put it out on any venue, even a radio station. Because once it’s out there, you can’t pull it back. You can correct it, but then when you correct it, you’re giving fuel to the fire that journalists aren’t fair or objective, if you’re putting out wrong information.
WM: Could you describe that rise and some advice for younger journalists, especially in the contemporary environment?
JR: I was blessed, and it certainly was different back then. I think it’s much more difficult for the younger generations to have a path of success in this field because there are so many areas where you can be in journalism, which is good, because when I was literally starting my career, as I mentioned, you had channels 2, 4, 7, 9, 11 in the New York market, but you couldn’t leave the New York market. It was difficult, to get a job, you had to have major experience to get into the New York City stations, but what was wonderful about Cablevision, was they saw the opportunity to offer more, to offer local news, and I happened to be in, for lack of a better way to say it, the right place at the right time as we were building that. And I was one of the builders of that notion that local news could be successful. I have to give Chuck Dolan, who was the owner and CEO of Cablevision, who had that vision for niche programming, and he saw the importance of local news, and then Pat Dolan, his son, became president of the News 12 operations. In 1995 they decided to take what we were doing on a daily basis, one show, two shows a day, and put it into a 24-hour news format that could really serve the neighborhoods with news that’s important to most people. Yes, everybody cares about what’s going on nationally, what’s going on internationally and nationally, if there’s a terror attack, or if there’s a nuclear threat. But people care about their children’s education, they care about their taxes, they care about local crime, and that was actually not the focus of the New York City news stations. They were focusing on New York City. So Cablevision saw the opportunity to reach out into the suburbs and provide the local news that everyone wanted. I was blessed that I was there at the beginning of that process, and I was able to oversee the growth for News 12 Westchester and the Hudson Valley, and it was a wonderful career opportunity.
WM: Your guest, Vince, called in and said, “Change is not always good.” So far, has this worked out for you? Is this change good?
JR: Yeah, I will tell you, I’m loving this radio show. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me. I’m hoping to do more radio and/or television. I look at it as just writing the next chapter of my book. I had a wonderful career at Cablevision and News 12. I take pride in what we did and what we accomplished. News 12 is still going strong. They’re doing a lot of local news. Changes were made for, as you mentioned earlier, economic reasons. A lot of news agencies are in that position where they have to look at the economics of what they’re doing. And so what I think is, Altice made changes based on economics, but beyond that, I couldn’t comment. You’d really have to ask them about how things are going or why they made the changes they made. But I’m very proud to have been one of the founding members of when News 12 was in its agency. It was a wonderful career for me.
WM: I loved it. I grew up watching it.
JR: Thank you. I appreciate that. Thank you so much. I feel blessed. I feel nothing but blessed, and I’ve taken a little time off, which was good, because when you’re in the news business, you go, go, go, and the phone is ringing 24 hours a day, and it was a lot of responsibility. But, like I said, I’m happy to be starting to write the next chapter, and this particular radio show is certainly one way to take that next step.
WM: Let me expand on that question. Today, journalism is a lot harder to get into, as you said. I’ve heard the rumor that journalism is dying. What is your advice to young journalists who want to get into this, or, do you see journalism as a dying profession?
Janine: Oh, no. I don’t see it as a dying profession at all? The Fourth Estate is really important. There needs to be journalists out there. We need to tell the stories that people need for information, for education, in some cases, for entertainment as well. I don’t think it’s dying. I do think we have to revisit how we do things. I think the Internet has opened up a whole other area that has to be explored, because I think that’s where journalists can get in trouble. We have to know how to separate fact from fiction. We have to know how to tell people stories that mean something to them. And right now, the country is polarized, but I think that will happen for a while, but if you look at history, I always say, today’s news is tomorrow’s history. I say that all the time, today’s news is tomorrow’s history. And history repeats itself. It does, and there will always be times in the country when there’s political unrest. There will always be times when things come together. We are in, certainly, with the concerns about terrorism, with the concerns about our safety, it’s an uneasy period we’re in right now, and I think that’s why journalism is so important. What I would say to people like yourself who are looking to be journalists. If you have that love, you have to pursue it. And I said this to all the interns I’ve worked with over the years and all my employees that I brought in. If you’re going to be a journalist, don’t expect to be a millionaire. Don’t expect that you’re going to be the next Katie Couric or Megyn Kelly. You have to be prepared to work and want to love what you do. And I say, whatever you do in life, as long as you have a passion for that, you’re going to be great at it. If you have a passion for healing people and you become a doctor, you’re going to be great at it. If you have a passion for animals and you want to take care of animals, open a shelter, you’re going to be wonderful at it. You have to pursue your passion. So if your passion is journalism, whether it’s on the air or off the air, you don’t have to be in front of a camera or a microphone. You might want to be a news producer, you might want to be a cameraman. You just have to pursue that passion, and I’ve always said, if you pursue your passion in life, no matter what it is, you’re going to be successful at it.
WM: Wise words.
JR: Well, I find it works. It’s really true. And I’ve known people who’ve been in this business a long time, but I’ve also known people who come into this business because perhaps, professors said, “oh, pursue this,” or their parents might have said, “oh, go into media.” But they really had a love for something else. And once they moved on to that other career or other field of work, they’ve been just as happy, if not happier. So I think you just have to pursue your passion, whatever it is.