Meet the Media: Laura Harris, News Anchor & Automotive Reporter for NEWSnet

My name is Laura Harris. I am currently a news anchor and automotive reporter for NEWSnet. As an anchor I anchor two shows daily, covering national and international headlines, breaking news, business and health. It’s rewarding to be able to share the news of the day to a national audience. As an automotive reporter I cover anything from mobility and electrification, to artificial intelligence and product pieces. I stay on top of trends, attend auto shows, and focus on business, as well as consumer-based industry reporting. NEWSnet is an American news-oriented free-to-air television network and newscast production company. It is broadcast nationwide online, on the NEWSnet app, on local cable TV, as well as on Apple TV, Roku, etc.

Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?

As an anchor I cover the daily trends both nationally and internationally. As an automotive reporter, electrification, mobility and artificial intelligence have been and will most likely stay on my radar for quite some time. Automotive is completely transforming into this fierce world of mobility and It’s nothing but exciting to be able to cover all the changes, growth and trends. I’m excited to see where we grow with technology across the board and how electrifying America will continue to take shape.

Describe the craziest or most fun story you have worked on.

I know oftentimes people steer clear of event coverage, but anything live is where I thrive. I’m biased and love auto shows. I grew up attending the Chicago Auto Show every year since I was 4, so getting to cover it as a journalist was such a surreal and full circle moment. Auto Shows, CES, NADA, Detroit Grand Prix, Monterey Car Week – those have all been nothing short of incredible. There’s such a thrill running around an event trying to find strangers to talk to, engineers to question, racers to engage with – nothing beats it. The more people I get to interview, the merrier.

What story or stories are you most proud of?

In my journalism career, the story I’m most proud of is a documentary short video I did on PTSD. It was the most empowering and inspiring piece I believe I’ve ever created, opening up such a wide array of conversations from those who watched it. In my automotive career, getting to cover the UAW strike was challenging and rewarding. Hearing the voices of both sides, portraying what this meant for the automakers, workers and consumers – it was a true testament to journalism practices.

What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story, and why?

For every story I tell, I look at how it affects the consumer – what is that humanistic element? I also like asking all my subjects how they personally feel about the matter. As journalists we do the research, gather the facts and state the details, but digging deeper to get that human-to-human connection is where the magic happens. I want my subject’s personality to shine through, and I want to bring passion to my stories.

How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started?

Growing up I wanted to become a mechanical engineer, but at 16 years old I took my first broadcasting class, and the rest is history. I always loved talking in front of large groups of people, and thought it was even more fun to tell stories to those groups. Back in high school I became my school’s weekly news anchor and in charge of special video segments. It was free range to cover whatever beat I wanted, and it was a blast. It was a clear choice to study journalism at The University of Missouri. I received my bachelors from Mizzou and my Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University. I’ve been in journalism for 12 years, with a large part of that being in broadcast and digital storytelling.

Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am …

If I am not reporting, I am teaching fitness classes! I grew up as a dancer dancing all styles my entire life, with a focus on ballet. When I graduated college, I wanted to find a way to continue working out using elements of dance. I became a Barre fitness instructor and have been teaching ever since. It’s a part time job, but for me, it’s truly something I love. Being in front of a class, microphone on, ready to inspire individuals to become the best versions of themselves will never get tiring for me.

What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?

As a journalist it is my job to find the Why people are interested in a story – why it affects them, why they would be interested, why they should watch or read, why this can help their lives, etc. But as a PR person, you need to tell me your Why first. Why is this a story I want to cover, not just a story for continued marketing purposes. Sell it to me as more than a product or event, rather something an audience deserves to know.

Any pet peeves with PR people?

I love when PR people give a story pitch, or suggestion for the interviews, but please do not tell us which questions to ask, or to follow only a set list of questions. As a journalist I ask questions, but I view the interview as a conversation. A conversation cannot be planned out by set questions in a list, rather your next questions need to flow after the subject’s last answer. Let your subject know you care; you are listening and you are engaged. So as a PR person, do not push us to use only questions we sent you or you sent us. Let us talk and facilitate real conversations about real topics.

Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, etc.)

I grew up born and raised in Chicago. I’m a Midwest girl through and through and could not be more thrilled to be in Detroit so close to home. I’m a fitness instructor, recently engaged, captain of a bowling team, run a food blog and absolutely love the theater. My fiancé and I are on a kickball team, bowling team, road trip as often as we can, wakesurf and snowboard. If I’m not on the mic for news, I’m on the mic teaching barre classes, and when I’m not on the mic in life, I love spending time with friends, family and all those I care about. I’m most excited to marry my love this September in Chicago.    

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience? (Maybe something that would surprise people?)

In college I switched from broadcast journalism to documentary journalism, trying to take on long form storytelling. The program was the first of its kind in the country, and I had the opportunity to create a documentary short film as my capstone project. That film won me the title of Best Director at my university and went on to play in several nationwide film festivals. I have a true passion for digital storytelling across all platforms and mediums. I have been a producer, news anchor, reporter, editor, photographer – when it comes to digital storytelling, I’ve done it all.

You can follow Laura on Facebook: Laura Harris News and Instagram: lauraharris_news

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