Have You Met?

Molly Hughes, Denver’s adorable CBS 4’s 5, 6, & 10 p.m. News Anchor, is already a 14- year seasoned broadcasting veteran having held news positions in others markets such as Yuma, Arizona, Dayton, Ohio and San Diego, California.

Just like a ray of light, Molly Hughes brightens our evenings with her smile, and warm, upbeat way of reporting the news. As a wife and mother of two active boys, Molly tries to spend every possible moment she can with her family, and she is savoring her well-balanced life.

The blonde, blue-eyed beauty is a true professional who is comfortable around people and so open and sympathetic to things that inspire or move her. She’s always willing to get involved when she sees a worthy cause. Molly personally is working with the United Way, the Salvation Army, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, the American Diabetes Association, Concerts for Kids, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the Children’s Hospital, Friends of Nursing, and Bridgeway, and Molly has been the emcee at numerous charitable events.

Today, Molly is one of Denver’s “It Girls,” and continues to gain applause and new fans as she ascends to new heights. Molly reflects: “We have a few great opportunities that are once in a lifetime opportunities. This is what I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m doing it!”

Colorado viewers, Stay tuned for this developing story!

Your friend and co-worker/reporter, Jodi Brooks, said in an interview we did with her that in the broadcasting business “One day you could be hot chocolate and chopped liver the next” – what are your thoughts on staying popular in your line of work? I work on the philosophy that I do the best I can do every day, that’s all I can do and control. Sometimes you will have a great broadcast that will not reflect that, and on other days, we will have a “not so good” broadcast, and the ratings are great.

The ratings are not always reflective of your product, so I gave up on living by the ratings and letting them govern me, - but of course, it’s always in the back of my head. When we do well, it’s exciting and rewarding, and when we don’t do well, we try to figure out how to turn the tide, and how to make it better. There are so many other factors that play into it. In the summertime for example, the viewer ship automatically goes down because people are on vacation and it’s light out longer. Also you realize that in the Fall, on a Monday night, people are watching football, so how do you convert those people to turn the channel – you can’t, they want to watch football. So you learn that there are a lot of things that are out of your control, and you do the best you can every single day, and in the end you hope people appreciate your work. We have a core group of loyal viewers, and we hope others will take notice.

Do you still experience butterflies right before you go on the air? No, I don’t. Maybe I had them in the beginning, but I’ve been doing this for 14 years now. Though sometimes in a situation when there is breaking news and you are flying by the seat of your pants – depending on the circumstances – it can be a little nerve-racking.

You went to school in San Diego, California and lived and worked there for a while. It’s such a popular city; do you miss it? I do miss it, but I love Colorado. I miss my family since they all live in California, and I miss the Sunday dinners with them.

How do you stay so fit? You say in your CBS4 write-up that your favorite food is French fries? Yes, I do love French fries; they are soo good. I played sports my whole life so the pressure to be fit comes from myself, because I’m just used to being fit, but certainly the pressure is there. I don’t have a routine I abide by every single day, but I try to get to the gym four or five days a week. I speed walk and usually eat what I want; but don’t snack in-between meals. With the holidays, vacations and the kids being home, my routine usually goes out the window. I feel better when I work out, and I can perform better when I feel better about myself. I don’t live my life though like I’m concerned I’m getting fat on camera, I just want to feel good and fit into my clothes. If you saw me on my days off without my make-up…….

You look fabulous; what make-up line are you wearing? I use all MAC products – except for I’m wearing a cheaper mascara. Who wants to pay $15 when you can get the same thing with a less expensive brand?

What’s changing in your industry these days? There has been a gradual transition where entertainment and news – and the lines between the two – have somewhat blurred. No offense to Anderson Cooper of CNN, but in the trade publications there have been debates about: is he a journalist or is he a citizen’s advocate, and where do you draw that line. During his coverage of Katrina, and how he handled himself by showing emotion and getting outraged, to me, when I watched his coverage, on some of it, I thought to myself, wow, I don’t know if I would have the courage to peel back all those layers.

Because of the criticism, a lot of the purists would say this isn’t a story about you, and you shouldn’t show your emotions – but boy when you are a human being, and there’s been that transition, the viewers respond to it when you show you are a real human being. It’s more prevalent now that you see journalists, who have become personalities, and they ride on their personalities, and that can become a dangerous proposition.

I try to find balance. I think I started at a time when the “purists” the “old schoolers” were really trying to hold the line, and I was sort of on that cusp of being a young new generation journalist, but still appreciating and understanding the values of what our job and responsibility is. And so, it’s been this gradual progression for me where I try to constantly walk that line and understand that people do connect with us as human beings.

Would you like to do reporting that involves more commentary? There are some things that are appropriate to comment on, but as a human being there is no way you can read a story about somebody killing a child for example and not have some sort of visceral human response to that. But when it comes to politics and issues of religion, I don’t discuss that stuff, or let people know where I stand, but when it comes to being human, that’s why I got into this business.

I’m really nosey, and I’ve always been that way, and the irony of it is, when I was a kid I never watched TV because I was always hanging out with people and being social because that’s what made me tick. I certainly have my views, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment. I think it’s a happy medium being able to connect with people and being in the know of what’s happening in the world, and in our state, and in our town, and making those emotional connections with people where it feels appropriate to me.

I think I have enough opportunity for that in our nightly broadcast – although, I believe we could do a little more of that where we still get the stories in and still have some fun and mix it up with the team, like when you are going into the weather or sports. One thing that I take comfort in, there are a lot of non-verbal ways to communicate with people too – just by the way you react with your facial expressions, with a pregnant pause, or with the tone of your voice - it says something about you. I realize that, so I don’t’ feel the need to be a stand-up comic up there to make people laugh.

As you mentioned in your station write-up, Bill Clinton would be your dream interview, why? I just think it would be a great opportunity to talk with a former President who surely is minding his P’s & Q’s, but would have a little more liberty now to talk about what an experience it was to be President of the United States. With him being the most recent President, it would be nice to just be able to pass into his brain, plus it seems like he has a very personable side to him; he’d just be an interesting person all around to talk with.

What’s a magazine you couldn’t live without? Newsweek.

What is your favorite book of all time? A simple little book called Joshua, by Joseph Girzone.

You also mentioned that you want to sing and be a “Rock Star” for a day, are you ready for American Idol? No, definitely not, but my family and I love Karaoke, and we have so much fun doing it. I love what it brings out in people. It might be fun to be “wild” for a night and see what it would be like as a “Rock Star.”

Do you have a favorite “Rock Star?” Actually, I’m not into rock, I’m into R & B music. I love Soul music. I grew up with groups like Lionel Ritchie and the Commodores and Earth, Wind, and Fire. I love Lionel Ritchie, and I recently had the chance to interview him. He’s very genuine and “in the moment.” He’s up there when you ask who is my favorite musician. When I listen to his music, it evokes emotion immediately. Not so much because of Lionel, but because of the time in my life and the memories that come from that.

Who do you credit with giving you really good advice about the news industry? It’s not just one person, but through a series of experiences and people in the last couple years here at KCNC giving me advice. One of the things I pride myself on is being open to criticism, and wanting to always get better. I’m continually creating this patchwork.

You are really into being a mom, and you say you are very close to your mother; what makes a good mom? Someone who can create the best opportunities for their child and lead by example. I don’t mean opportunities by sending your kids to the best college or buying the best toys or clothes, but in my case, I really strive to teach my children to respect all people - everybody deserves to be respected.

Being true to yourself, I really try to instill that in them because I see my children so concerned about what their friends think and what the kids think if they do this – or don’t do that. I forecast that in years down the road, if they don’t have a strong sense of inner self, then they could succumb to peer pressure.

A good mother is someone who is supportive of her children and helps them create a foundation for a self-sufficient life. As far as spending time with your kids, when I have any free time from work, it is totally dedicated to my children and my husband. I try to limit public appearances on weekends just to be there for them, and it’s noticeable when we have more time together. They really feel it when we connect.

Tell us more about growing up with your mom who still lives in California? My mom was working to raise five children on her own with no child support.

Playing sports my whole life and looking out into the stands and never having anyone there to support me. It really didn’t bother me too much, because that’s all I knew. Now that I look back, I think it would have been nice had things been a little bit different, but I certainly don’t fault my mom. I know she did the best she was capable of doing, and I totally admire her. I don’t know how she did it – especially during that day and age when woman weren’t able to earn the same amount as men, and they were just breaking into the workforce.

I find some comfort in that because I love my mom, and I know that she loved us; it was so obvious in every other way. I never doubted it, so I feel like I can emulate that in my own parenting, and I’m doing the best that I’m able to do.

How far would you go as a reporter to gain the truth? I think I would go as far as you need to go if it’s a story I’m committed to – without putting my family in jeopardy. That’s why I do this job because I’m totally curious, and I always have been, and I need to know the truth.

You interviewed Oprah; when was that? And how do you feel she has changed since then? I interviewed Oprah in 1996. She is more relaxed now. She has evolved at a place of being totally comfortable with herself.

How do you deal with a news story that is really heartbreaking? There are some things you can’t prepare for, but if I know I have an emotional story coming up in the 10 p.m. news time for example, I will take the tape, and I will go look at the story before hand.

The crew will usually tell me, “Molly you have to watch this one, because it’s a real tear jerker.” I know just by reading and being aware of certain stories which ones might trigger that, so I’ll watch them in advance, so I can prepare myself a little bit so I’m not caught off guard. Sometimes I’ll watch it two or three times so that I can go through it enough before airtime to prepare myself. There are times when you don’t have the opportunity to do that because a reporter might be out in the field, and their story isn’t even in the building.

What is your best childhood memory? I’d have to say family get-togethers. I’m the youngest of five. My Dad is one of seven, and my Mother is one of three. We spent a lot of time going to get-togethers with my Dad’s family and get-togethers with my mom’s family, and those are my fondest memories.

What’s in the future for Molly Hughes, what do you still dream of doing? I’m still one of the few people who can say I just love my job. I love going to work; it’s different everyday, and I get to meet interesting people, and the latitudes of what we learn about and talk about, the stories we do, keeps life exciting always. I’m not burnt out on it.

From time to time I will have conversations with myself, and have a little gut check: “Am I still enjoying this? Is it still fulfilling? And it is. I wouldn’t mind in the future continuing what I’m doing, but expanding and having another type of show that would be more like with newsmakers and current events, very people oriented, like a talk show. For me, if I were to ever get out of news, it would be to do more talk-oriented stuff, but I would like to be able to do both. I see myself being in this position until I’m ready to retire, which I don’t even have on the radar screen right now.

How do you want to be remembered? I would like to be remembered as a good human being who was fair and honest, and set a good example for her children – that’s all…

Molly’s Awards: Winner of the 2005 Emmy for Best Anchor, and 2005 Emmy for Best Hard News Series for her reports on the “Troy Wellington Story.” She also anchored several Newscasts & Community Affairs projects that contributed to the Emmy for Overall Station Excellence & Best Live News Coverage for the “Blizzard of the Century.” Molly co-anchored the newscast that was honored with the 2004 Edward R. Murrow Award for Outstanding Newscast 2003, and she anchored the newscasts that won the Edward R. Murrow Awards for Overall Excellence, Best Newscast and Best News Documentary.