By Christopher A. Pape
Our readers know that we are admirers of Fox 5, our local Fox news affiliate. From Rosanna Scotto to Julie Chang, we love all of their staff. This also includes Antwan Lewis, one of the newer members of their team. Originally from Virginia, Antwan has been with the station for almost three years.
He graciously sat down to enlighten us about who he is, what he thinks of our fair city and what it means to be a New Yorker. We are very happy to introduce him to you and are glad to announce that he will be attending our big bash in November!
Read and enjoy – he was a lot of fun to interview!
Resident (R): Antwan, thank you for taking the time out to speak with me. Tell us a little bit more about what you do for Fox 5.
Antwan Lewis (AL): I am a news reporter and fill in anchor. I work on a general assignment beat; covering whatever is going on – news of the day. It can be anything from hard news like a house explosion, which I just covered, in Long Island to something like Powerball fever, which is lighter. It runs the gamut. And being a fill in anchor, I work when someone is out sick, on assignment or on vacation. It could be for Good Day New York or one of our evening shows.
R: Do you get to choose your own assignments?
AL: We are assigned by our assignment desk and our producers, however if we enterprise something, we can report on something of our own. We have plenty of license in that department. But the thing is, there is so much going on in New York. Regular day in-day out stuff occupies most of your time; you have to really plan your own story well in advance.
R: What’s a typical day like?
AL: I’m up at 1:30am and in the office by 2:30. We’ll have a meeting where we find out what our assignments are; we’ll begin to work on them – do some research – and out the door by 5:00am. I do live demos, live hits until 7, another at 8 and another one at 9am. I am live reporting, constantly from early as 4:30am (if it’s a breaking story), but generally between 5:00am to 10:00am, I am on every half-hour - the first two and half hours and then each hour after that.
R: How long have you been with Fox 5? And how did you get into journalism?
AL: Two and half years. But before that, home was in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area. It was a third grade teacher that suggested I become a news reporter. She was frustrated with me because I asked too many questions; not to be obnoxious, but because I was inquisitive. One day, she said, “Mr. Lewis, you ask so many questions, you should be a reporter on the television.” I went home and told my mother that the teacher said I should be a reporter; I started fake interviewing everyone I knew. My first ‘microphone’ was a deodorant bottle and I just mimicked on TV. But, I followed my dream by going to Norfolk State University and studying mass communications and then I got my master’s degree in broadcast journalism at Regent University, which is in Virginia Beach.
I started my career through an internship; I was able to start in my hometown of Norfolk, which is a rare accomplishment. I started off on the assignment desk, because I didn’t have any reporting experience. I watched and I learned and eventually they let me go out and train in the field. I was in Norfolk for eight years then to Phoenix for four, which I loved, then to Chicago for three and finally to New York for two and half years.
R: What makes a New Yorker, a New Yorker?
AL: I think it’s an appreciation for all of the things that make up the city. It’s the diversity, the respect and the pride. You can’t tell someone from Staten Island that their borough isn’t the best; same way with Queens or The Bronx. I think that the people who live in New York have so much pride.
On another note, when I can go to a soul food restaurant, look around and see that 80% of the diners are non African-Americans that says a lot. On the same token, I can go to an Italian restaurant and see the diversity and the blending of different cultures – that speaks to me about New York.
R: Which section of New York do you live?
AL: I live in Hell’s Kitchen. I thought the west side was a little bit more relaxed, a little less pressure. I picked Hell’s Kitchen because I wanted to be close enough to Times Square to speak to the little bit of me that is still a tourist. When someone comes to visit me – I can be right in the heart of it all with them.
R: What do you do for fun in the city?
AL: I live right next to the west side bike path, I bought a bike and now I’m constantly riding it along there, safely. I’m still so nervous about that! I love Sunshine Cinema on the lower east side. On a lot of Friday nights, I’ll go see a show at midnight; an old show that never plays anymore and it’ll be a packed house! With all that goes on in the city, I can’t believe that people would want to go see Rosemary’s Baby. I also love Brandy Library in Tribeca for an after work drink or just to unwind.
R: What charities are you involved with?
AL: I work with the United Negro College Fund and I’ve also connected with the Apollo restoration team. Anything which is involved with donating organs is important to me. My paternal grandfather was the recipient of a kidney transplant. It sustained his life for another seven years; we were so grateful for that. So obviously, organ transplant issues is close to my heart. •