Friday, July 5, 2013


Lisa Ferguson Provides Insight Into 
The Life Of An Independent Journalist
(photo courtesy of Lisa Ferguson)

Lisa, Thank you very much for granting us an interview!!!!
Of course! Thank you for having me.

What were your first thoughts when you found out there was a Blog called “The Appreciation of Booted Newswomen”?
I was definitely intrigued. I had no idea so many newswomen wore boots! When I first learned about the blog it had four million views and growing. Now it’s already up to more than five million – wow!!

What do you think of the Blog?  Have you had a chance to look at it much? If so, have you looked to see what other women in the television industry are wearing, not only in boots, but in clothes in general?
I love the blog! I think a lot of people picture newswomen as wearing your typical pantsuit and heels, but it’s great to see that we can be well-informed, professional, and fashionable all at once. The blog covers women all around the country – from independent journalists like me all the way up to the women on network news. It’s really fun to see what different women are wearing – and I’ve even found one of my old coworkers on the blog, which was really neat!

It’s well known to our readers that the Blog sent you two pairs of Boots. You wore a pair of off-White Over the Knee Boots during a series of TYT University videos. There was a lot of negative reaction from TYTU viewers about those Boots. What did you think of that reaction?
Oh gosh, that was so funny. First of all, thank you again for the boots! I love both pairs (even the ones that got criticized on TYTU). To be honest, those white boots look great in person, but the camera just didn’t do them justice. Working in the media (especially online, where people have the ability to comment) is a big lesson in self-esteem and in social psychology. People are willing to say some really mean and hateful things online, but at the end of the day you just have to let it roll off your shoulders. My view of comments like that is – it’s their problem, not mine.
The aforementioned White Boots

Have you worn those Boots again?
I haven’t worn the boots again, but only because it was nearing the summer months in LA and was getting too hot. But I definitely plan on wearing them again. They survived the move and are here with me in Iowa!

Do you always buy new Boots every fall 
when the new fashions come out?
I love, love, love boots. If I could wear them all year, I would. They can be expensive, but I try to buy at least one pair ever year. I think last year I bought – I’m just counting in my head now – four pairs, plus the two from the blog. Wow! I guess that’s enough to last me a little while. ;)

Is there a certain pair of boots you wish you had? 
What is the Style, Color, Height, Heel?
Some of my favorite boots are the ones I bought while I was living in Spain. They were mid-calf, flat heel, white, and had a tie on the side. Those things traveled all over Europe with me – Spain, Paris, Rome – but I left them there when I moved back to the States. If I could have those again I would, but I think that’s for nostalgia more than style.
Lisa's Boots of Spanish Leather!!
(photo courtesy of Lisa Ferguson)

Is there any style of Boots that women wear 
that you absolutely would NOT wear? Why?
Hmmm…I like to be adventurous and mix it up sometimes when it comes to fashion, so I can’t say there are too many things I wouldn’t wear. But some boots – like the thigh highs with stiletto heels – might be a little too much for me. They’re just not practical.

How did you come to be on TYT University?
I was working as an on-air political correspondent for Current TV, which shared its studio space with The Young Turks. One day John Iadarola (my now co-host) came up to me, introduced himself, and asked if I’d like to fill in as a guest host on TYT University for the week. I told him I’d love to – and then that turned in to the next week, and the next week, and eventually became a permanent gig!

Can you explain to our readers how TYT University is actually part of a bigger piece, The Young Turks, and how it all fits together?  Are these channels on You Tube only, or is TYT something we can see on Cable TV?
The Young Turks was started by Cenk Uygur and is now the largest online news show in the world. The main show has a bunch of offshoots like TYT University (which covers news for college students and young adults), along with TYT Sports and several other shows that fit more of a niche audience. For now you can also watch The Young Turks main show on Current TV, but as you might know Al Jazeera recently bought out Current. The best way to watch TYTU is to subscribe to our YouTube channel 

I really like John Iadarola's personality, is he the same off air as he is on?
John is so great. He’s an amazing co-host and friend, and has put a ton of effort into making TYTU the best it can be. When I first started hosting TYTU, our YouTube channel had about 25,000 subscribers. Now it has more than 100,000! That’s a huge testament to the amount of work John puts into the channel. As far as personality goes, I think John and I are both pretty much the same on air as we are off. Of course, sometimes you have to be a little more vibrant and well-spoken on camera than you are when no one is watching – but on TYTU there’s no scripts, no teleprompters, no acting – it’s just us.

You recently moved from Southern California to Iowa.  
How did the move go?
I did! Packing and moving is always stressful, but overall it went really well. The people here are incredibly friendly, so that helps make the transition easier.
What have you found out about Iowa that has most surprised you?
I think LA and Iowa are about as different as you can get, so I’m experiencing a little culture shock. I’m always cracking myself up because I keep noticing the birds chirping – they’re so loud! Hearing birds shouldn’t be weird, but to me it is. I guess there just weren’t many birds where I lived in LA. I’m from Colorado so it’s been amusing to watch myself turn from a country girl into a city girl, and now have to acclimate myself to nature again.

I know you are still contributing to TYT University with videos but you are also producing many more videos on your own You Tube channel .  
What can we expect to see on your channel?
I’m really excited to start my own channel! Just like growing a business it can be difficult and full of ups and downs, but overall it’s a lot of fun. Some topics that really speak to me are environmental issues, women’s issues, politics and international news, so expect to see plenty of that. I’m also working on getting back into the field and doing some reporting on location. That will definitely take some time and effort, but it’s the part I’m most excited about.

I’m sorry to ask this selfish question. Your newest videos only show you from the shoulders up.  Is that a conscious decision to help the viewers concentrate on the video’s content rather than on what you may be wearing?  Any chance that may change when Boot season rolls around again?  

 It’s more a matter of limited resources than anything else. Until I can rent out some studio space or get into the field with a photographer, I’m pretty much stuck filming with a webcam or cell phone - which is why you only see from the shoulders up. But I’d love for that to change! Once my blog starts to grow and I get more resources, I’ll have a little more flexibility.

If funding or any other restrictions were not an object, what type of reporting would you want to do and where would that be seen? 
If I could do anything, it would definitely be in the field documentary reporting. It’s important to me to uncover stories that are not in the mainstream media, and to get out there and talk to people about how they’re impacted by current events. Getting to know people is the fun part for me. I’d love to do those types of videos on my own website and YouTube channel. Working for myself gives me the flexibility to cover what I want, rather than be controlled by corporate media or a large news organization.

Do you consider yourself to be a ‘backpack journalist’?
I do consider myself a backpack journalist. To me that means you’re self-reliant. I film, edit, write, produce, and host everything myself. It’s challenging, but I like knowing I can count on myself if I’m working alone. It’s also allowed me to travel a bit. I’ve filmed and produced environmental videos in Mexico 
produced and directed a documentary on racism and neo-Nazis
and hopped an a bus with a group of undocumented immigrants traveling from Los Angeles to Sacramento (the blog is here: 
and you can catch the video at the end of my reel: have been some of the best (and at times scariest) experiences of my life.

Was there anything from your youth that made you want to become a “story teller”?
Not so much from when I was a kid, but when I was in college I learned about the documentary series Vanguard on Current TV. I saw these journalists going around the world, undercover, reporting on some of the most important but under-reported stories our world is facing and I thought: I have to do that. Luckily, I was able to work for Vanguard for a year before the show was cancelled. Hopefully I’ll be able to do something like that again, and I’m trying to incorporate some documentary elements into my own channel.

I believe you used to work as an investigative producer and writer for KCNC-TV (CBS) in Denver. Do you think you’ll ever go back to work, on air, for a TV news station or network?  Or would you find that too restricting for what you want to do?
You’re good! ;) I did used to work there and it was a great start to my career. I never say never, so maybe I’ll be back on a network someday, but for now I’m enjoying doing my own thing.

I know it’s a broad term but what’s the best part of social media as it relates to your field?  Is there anything about social media that makes it more challenging to do your job?
The best part about social media is that it lets me interact with my viewers one on one. They Tweet me, talk to me on Facebook or on YouTube, and I get to know what they’re interested in, what they like and don’t like, and what kind of stories they want me to cover. Plus they get to know a little more about me aside from what they see on TYTU or on my own channel. It’s little bit of a double edged sword because some people are hateful or judgmental when they don’t like what I have to say, but you just have to learn to roll with the punches.

If someone offered you the choice of these four jobs, 
which one would you take?  
1) Host of the Today Show      
2) A reporter on 60 Minutes 
3) Network or Cable News Foreign Correspondent        
4) Cast member on Saturday Night Live 
International news is a big passion of mine, so I’d have to say #3. But a cast member on Saturday Night Live is a closer runner-up. I think I’m pretty funny (I’m just not sure anyone else does) ;)

THANK YOU SO MUCH for allowing us to interview you, Lisa!!!
Thank you!! Anytime :)

As you can see, just like Ashley Kringen in our first interview,
Lisa put a TON OF THOUGHT and EFFORT in to the Interview answers.  

Do yourselves a favor and check out all of Lisa's links above. 
She's a progressive, passionate journalist and we'll be hearing 
a lot more from her in the future!!!!

I may taking a few days (or weeks, or months)
off from the Blog.But every time I've ever wrote that 
I'm out, they ALWAYS pull me back in

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