Reporter keeps straight face while hosting C-SPAN

Betsy Rothstein | Reporter

There’s a new C-SPAN host on the airwaves these days. It’s Juana Summers, who normally writes for Politico. But now, like many reporters, she joins the club of those working for multiple outlets. She’ll remain at Politico full-time and periodically guest host for C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” program. This morning was her 10th hosting and second full show.

She debuted on Sept. 24.

Like all hosts, she must retain a deadly serious demeanor while dealing with those sometimes wacky callers. Summers was serious as a heart attack and made it through the morning without even cracking a smile.

Many callers commented on her attire and asked for her name. One female caller repeatedly called her “Lana.” But Juana kept it polite and never corrected her. She ran a tight ship and cut off callers quickly when they began rambling or got weird. One man talked about “tiny little pregnant woman” on the border when discussing his incoherent views on immigration. She interrupted him mid-thought and nudged him to move it along. Juana wore a burnt red blazer, causing a different male caller to remark, “You look wonderful. I like your new look. It looks fantastic!” At one point Juana asked a male caller to turn down his TV. He replied, “I don’t have a TV, darling. That’s my dog.” And still another male caller from Texas mentioned “colored people.” Juana, who is black, didn’t react and took all the commentary in stride.

Asked about keeping a straight face and how the experience is going, Summers replied by email, “I’m having a fun time hosting for C-SPAN. Being called different names by callers doesn’t bother me. It’s been really interesting for me to hear all of their different perspectives from across the country.”

Michele Remillard, Washington Journals executive producer, explained to The Mirror, “She’s a guest host. ‘Washington Journal’ has traditionally had other working journalists guest-host the program in the past, such as John McArdle and Libby Casey as well as others. Juana has been training and doing segments for us since late summer and is now doing full programs.”

C-SPAN communications director Howard Mortman stressed that reporters from outside pubs hosting the program is not out of the ordinary. “Juana Summers joins a long line of Capitol Hill reporters who have guest hosted the Washington Journal, including in recent years, Greta Brawner. Since all of our own air staff have other full-time jobs at C-SPAN we have always found it helpful to have outside freelance help with the seven-day-a-week program.”

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