Armonk resident John Berman discusses co-anchoring CNN News Central, a new daytime show that debuted this spring.
John Berman might hail from Armonk, but he’s one of America’s newsmen. The Harvard grad and father of twin boys is known for his long-running work as a CNN anchor. In April, CNN News Central premiered, helmed by Berman along with Kate Bolduan and Sara Sidner, broadcast out of the network’s New York City studios. We caught up with the ultra-busy newsman to learn a bit about his new show, his favorite local haunts, and if he thinks there’s bias in national news.
Tell us about CNN News Central.
The idea is that CNN News Central is a much more visual and immersive news presentation. It’s very active: a lot of graphics, a lot of visual demonstrations, and it just has a feeling that you are much more “in it” — in the middle of all the news.
Do you have a dream interview subject?
I love creators, people who create things, particularly in the arts. Of course, I always want to talk to whoever is in the middle of the news; that is a given. But beyond that, the people who inspire me are the people who write music, people who write plays, authors of books. I am sort of in awe of anyone like that. I got to interview Stephen Sondheim years ago when I was at ABC, and it’ll be hard for anything to ever top that.
“My goal is to always be as factual as I can be and to push for the answers — to be fair.”
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Do you think there is a bias in news media?
Look, I have a bias toward truth. I think that the best news organizations have a bias toward the truth, and that’s where the concern and the focus are. I am not going to name names, but I think there are networks that obviously have certain political angles or predilections. But my goal is to always be as factual as I can be and to push for the answers — to be fair.
What are your go-to Westchester spots?
We are superfans of Mariachi Mexico, which is a Mexican restaurant in downtown Armonk, where they make just delicious food, have fantastic specials, and are always willing to explain what they are. I also love the library system in Westchester. The North Castle Library is fantastic and the branches in Chappaqua and Mount Kisco. I love how easy it is to get whatever book you want whenever you want it. And I know it’s not Westchester, but it’s just over the border: the Greenwich Audubon Center is just a beautiful place. I got into hawk-watching there in the fall, when hawks, eagles, and falcons migrate. Oh, and I love the Bedford Playhouse too! We are members and like the free popcorn, but mostly it’s just a really nice place to see a movie, and it feels totally special. It’s spoiled me so that I don’t really want to see a movie anywhere else.
Has any recent interview particularly impacted you?
I was in Ukraine one year ago, and I interviewed a kid who was my twin boys’ age at the time. He was 15. I interviewed him in the hospital and his mother had just been blown up. I don’t mean to sound crass, but it’s true: His mother had just been blown up, and he saw it. He was in the hospital; his leg had been shattered. So, I’m talking to this kid who could be my kid, going through a completely unjustifiable, outrageous, maddening experience, and you find yourself asking, How can this be? How can this happen? That got me.