Kristin Fisher grew up not just dreaming about doing anything she set her heart to, but knowing that she could. As the daughter of Dr. Anna Fisher, the first mom in space, Kristin’s young mind was shaped by the example of her mom and her dad. Her father, William Fisher, also was an astronaut. (Kristin has featured her dad, who now works as a physician in a Texas emergency room, recently in a series of interviews about working on the frontlines of the coronavirus.)
Growing up the daughter of two successful parents, Kristin first felt a spark for her future career at just 10 years old when she remembers watching news coverage of space shuttle launches. Her passion deepened when she watched the beginning of the Gulf War. “I remember being fixated on CNN’s coverage when the first bombs hit Baghdad,” she says. “But, the thing that really sealed the deal … the day my fourth grade teacher turned our classroom into a newsroom. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Now a working mom herself, Kristin works as a FOX News Channel Correspondent. And, while she’s based in Washington, D.C., she travels the world wherever the story takes her. And those stories have brought her worldwide — to Vietnam, Estonia, Montenegro, and Warsaw, among other international cities. As a new mom, it would be conceivable to think that global travel would be difficult, but when you grew up with your parents traversing space, the other side of the world really doesn’t feel that far.
What was your career path – from college graduation to current date?
-KJCT: A few weeks after graduating from Boston University’s College of Communications, I moved out to Grand Junction, Colorado to be a one-man-band reporter and weekend anchor at the ABC affiliate. I didn’t know a soul, and I was only making $16,000 a year, but it was one of the best experiences of my life. I was only there for nine months, but I made lifelong friends and learned that I loved being behind the camera just as much as I did being in front of it (if not more).
-KATV: Another ABC affiliate. Another move to a place where I didn’t know anyone – Little Rock, Arkansas – but grew to love. I stayed here for over two years, and during that time I became increasingly focused on politics. I covered the state legislature and the 2008 presidential campaigns of the state’s former governor, Mike Huckabee, and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton. Through those experiences, I was finally able to land a job in Washington, D.C.
-WUSA: Switched to a CBS affiliate, but still continued to one-man-band. By this point, I was deep into filming and editing. I would still front my reports on-camera, but I spent most of my time behind it or editing video on my computer. When my contract was up, I decided it was time to take a risk: I would either make it as a correspondent at the national-level, or I would start my own video production company.
-Field Mouse Films: I spent about a year traveling the world and making documentary-style films for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Uber, and other companies. But three months after filing for an LLC, I got the offer at Fox.
Do you think a path like yours is still the best way to go for 2020 college journalism graduates, or would you recommend a different route in today’s media landscape?
This may be controversial, but … no. I don’t. While local news can be an excellent training ground, market jumping is no longer the only way to get a correspondent gig at a national network. My advice would be to find your niche early, cultivate a deep network of sources, and use your subject matter expertise to become a must-hear or must-read voice on your beat.
What is it like to work for FOX News Channel? What would an I Want Her Job reader see after walking through the doors?
It is a lot of work and a lot of fun. I work at the White House every day, so if you were to walk into the Fox News booth you would see five people crammed into a space the size of a large closet.
What is your schedule like? What responsibilities take up the majority of your day? How do you prioritize them best?
I set my alarm for 4:15 a.m. and snooze until 4:30 a.m. (I will never understand people who get up the second their alarm goes off). I can’t justify a trip to our bureau for hair and makeup since I live very close to the White House, so I do it myself while drinking coffee and watching the news. This is hands down the most relaxing and predictable part of my day. I’m at the White House by 6 a.m. My first live shot is usually at 7 a.m. And then … every day is different. Some days I do live shots almost every hour. Other days, I have none. Some days I’m reporting on a head of state at the White House. Other days … Kim Kardashian. You just never know where the day is going to go. I’m usually home by 4 p.m., and I spend the rest of the day with my daughter.
You’ve covered news everywhere from Vietnam to Estonia. What would a typical work trip look like? How long will you report from a location overseas? What is a typical day like when you’re on this type of assignment?
There is no such thing as a typical work trip in the Trump Administration. They’re all different and full of surprises. The only constant is the long hours. Oftentimes, the events are happening while most Americans are sleeping. So you end up doing a full day of work covering what the President or Vice President is doing, and then turning around and doing a full day of live shots for the channel.
Your mom, Dr. Anna Fisher, was the first mom in space. Wow! What does this mean to you now as a working mom yourself?
Growing up, it meant I never questioned that I could be a mom and have a demanding, full-time job. It wasn’t until I got pregnant that I seriously started to wonder how in the world she was able to train for her first space flight during my first year of life. Now she does an incredible job of mitigating my mom guilt. She often reminds me that I was/am proud of her for being a working mom, and she assures me Clara will feel the same.
Your daughter is so cute! If you could give her advice for the career woman she will one day be, what would you tell her?
Take risks early in your career. Dream outrageously big and try to turn them into reality in your early 20s. If they don’t work out, you’ll have plenty of time to course correct before your 30s. The older you get, the harder it becomes to take the risks that are often required to find and fulfill your professional passions.
News is a 24/7 job. Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night to check your phone and see what you’ve missed? Can you ever unplug, or do you need to always be on and be available?
I wake up in the middle of the night because I’m afraid I’ve overslept – and then I check my phone. It is tough to unplug, but I do it a few times a year. I love taking vacations to places with terrible WiFi or no cell service, (yes, they still exist) so I feel less guilty about doing it.
What are some of your future goals?
I’d love to produce a documentary about space at some point.
What is something someone might not realize about your job?
No one tells me what to say. I’m either ad-libbing or reading something that I wrote off a teleprompter.
What advice would you give to someone who wants your job?
Be prepared to make some serious sacrifices. At some point in your career, you will likely work weekends, holidays, overnights, early mornings, and late nights. The schedule can be punishing. But the payoff is huge. You truly get a front row seat to history. And I am never, ever bored.
I’d love to have coffee with:
The song I love to sing out loud is:
Hakuna Matata (with my two-year-old)
The books on my nightstand are:
Oh Crap! Potty Training
My current favorite saying is:
Apparently I say “That’s crazy!” all the time, because my daughter now says it nonstop.
My favorite way to spend my day off is:
At our cabin in the middle of nowhere with zero cell service
One lesson I’ve learned lately is:
I can’t party like I used to.
I can’t live without:
My husband and my AirPods
I feel my best when:
I get 10 hours of sleep. It rarely ever happens. But when it does, I literally glow with happiness.