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MPBN’s Rooks Discusses the Difference Between Hosting and Reporting

Monday Maine Maven


Today’s Maine Maven is MPBN on-air personality Jennifer Rooks. Jennifer joined MPBN in June of 2007 after spending more than13 years at WCSH-TV in Portland and its sister station, WLBZ-TV in Bangor, where she worked as a general assignment reporter and weekend news anchor.

Since 1994, Jennifer has covered a broad number of Maine issues in every corner of the state.

She has twice won an Edward R. Murrow award: In 1998, for coverage of Maine National Guard and Reserve soldiers deployed in Bosnia and Hungary, and in 2003, for the documentary “Citizen King,” about independent Governor (and former Maine Watch host) Angus King.

Jennifer grew up outside Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia, and her master’s in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley.

Jennifer worked at television stations in San Francisco and Monterey, California, before coming to Maine. She and her husband Mike have two children.


1.) Jennifer, you have been an on-air television personality on a network station, WCSH, and on a PBS station, MPBN. What are the differences between the topics you cover?

At MPBN, I host Maine Watch – a half-hour public affairs program. I focus much less on the breaking news each day than I did at WCSH, and much more on the broader issues affecting the state.

For example, last week, we focused the entire Maine Watch program on the idea of creating an East-West highway in Maine.

If I were reporting daily news, I would have covered the topic differently… I might have attended the public hearing about the East-West highway bill and produced a 2-minute story for the 6:00 news.

Another obvious difference is that I no longer stand outside in cruddy weather for StormCenter!  😉


2.) You came to our social media boot camp last week. Thanks for attending! How do you use social media in your job?

We recently launched a Facebook page for Maine Watch, and I aim to make it better.

Later this month, I’ll be moderating primary debates, and MPBN plans to use social media to reach out to viewers for potential topics and questions.


3.) From your perspective, how has social media changed the way television stations interact with their viewers and the way viewers interact with each other?

I think it’s a mixed bag – for many of our viewers, social media makes no difference at all.  For others, it’s a great way to connect with the station and with each other.

It’s another tool in the toolbox, with great potential.

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