×

Shepard Smith Mixes Social Media, Traditional Tactics In Fox News Excursion to Ukraine

Fox News Channel anchor Shepard Smith is mixing old-school shoe-leather reporting with new-age social-media monitoring techniques to suss out possible stories while on the ground in Ukraine.

The Fox News veteran left for the troubled region after doing the Monday broadcast of his regular program, “Shepard Smith Reporting,” and has been reporting live since Tuesday. Smith is  in Kiev today, but has also been to Crimea, where, he said in an interview,”things just kept changing before us” as he and his crew visited naval installations and talked with people there.

But Smith isn’t just relying on the usual TV-news tools when visiting a country in crisis. Since early October, the chief news anchor of the 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news outlet has been operating with a new command center, known as “The Fox News Deck” at the ready. The modern-day studio has a team monitoring real-time news feeds and social media, and, Smith feels, has given him an advantage while in the field.

“They had tweets from the west coast of Crimea that Russians had somehow sunk a third ship to make access to the port more difficult,” Smith recounted. “We can’t go with it, but we are able to start making some decisions and can get that confirmed. Later on, it popped up on the BBC, and I’m like, ‘Our system is working.’ It’s really nice to be able to get information in advance.”

In his recent broadcasts, Smith reported from Crimea about a United Nations representative who felt threatened after he was surrounded by a mob and told to leave. In other segments, he has interviewed Stuart Holliday, a former U.S. ambassador for special political affairs at the U.N. about how lawmakers in Crimea moved to split from Ukraine and join Russia.

Smith said he encountered no problems getting about in Crimea, but noted there are people looking to harass news correspondents. “You get harassed a little bit by some who call themselves the independent security force. Some of them are original and some of them, I think, are just troublemakers.”

He has been particularly taken with Independence Square in Kiev, which has become what he called a “congress of canvas” – filled with tents from various protest organizations that want to help residents keep things going. They are still living around campfires, in lean-tos, all around Independence Square, and they are there 24 hours a day. The intestinal fortitude is impressive,” Smith said.

While uncertain of how long he will stay, Smith thinks the Ukraine story will be newsy for some time. “It’s as complex and fast-moving an international story as I think I’ve ever been in the middle of,” he recounted.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Starz Logo

    Starz Orders Horror Comedy Pilot 'Shining Vale'

    Starz has put out a pilot order for “Shining Vale,” a horror comedy which hails from “Divorce” creator Sharon Horgan and “Trial & Error” co-creator Jeff Astrof. The prospective series is about a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one [...]

  • Bethenny Frankel at the showtime Emmy

    Bethenny Frankel to Exit 'Real Housewives of New York' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bethenny Frankel is stepping away from the “Real Housewives” franchise. Variety has learned exclusively that Frankel is poised to exit Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York” ahead of its upcoming twelfth season. Frankel first joined the acclaimed reality series back when it premiered back in 2008 before exiting the series in 2010 during the [...]

  • Dolly Parton

    BBC Commissions Dolly Parton Feature Documentary

    The BBC has commissioned a feature length documentary about country music legend Dolly Parton, it announced Wednesday. The documentary, tentatively titled “Dolly’s Country” will air on BBC Two this fall as part of a season of programs dedicated to country music. The broadcaster announced earlier in the day that it had acquired Ken Burns’ upcoming [...]

  • UCP to Develop Ann Shen’s 'Bad

    UCP to Develop Ann Shen’s 'Bad Girls Throughout History' as Anthology Series

    Universal Content Productions (UCP) is developing an anthology series based on Ann Shen’s book “Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World.” The project will be titled “Bad Girls,” with each episode featuring a different influential woman throughout history, including famous figures like Ada Lovelace, Rosa Parks, Mata Hari, and Ruth Bader [...]

  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a

    Bolsonaro LGBTQI Outburst, Subsidy Freeze, Stirs Outrage

    Ramping up the drive into censorship in Brazil, its Minister of Citizenship, Omar Terra, has suspended a call for applications for governmental TV funding – until new criteria are established for its application. The country’s secretary for culture, Henrique Pires, who reports to Terra, has resigned in protest of the incentive freeze. The suspension, for [...]

  • Shanta Fripp Claudia Milne Jon Tower

    'CBS This Morning' Names New Director, Managing Editor and Senior Producer

    “CBS This Morning” has made three key staff appointments as the show’s new leadership team settles in. Shanta Fripp, an 18-year CBS News veteran, has been named director of the weekday broadcast. Claudia Milne has joined CBS News from ProPublica as managing editor while Jon Tower has been upped to senior broadcast producer. “I’m thrilled [...]

  • Sean Spicer DWTS

    Sean Spicer Will Make Six Figures for 'Dancing With the Stars'

    Sean Spicer could waltz away with a nice payday if he wins “Dancing With the Stars.” According to multiple sources, contestants on the ABC competition series make $125,000 for the show’s rehearsal period and their first two weeks on the air. If they make it to week three and beyond, they begin to earn additional [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content