Shaina Humphries
Always a local – no matter where she is

You can see Shaina at the final panel of our Women’s Empowerment Series, “A New Kind of Girl Power,” on December 9. Get your tickets here.

Before Shaina Humphries became the Fox 29 evening anchor, you could find her cycling through the not-so-rough-and-tumble streets of central Iowa.

“I never would have thought I’d be one of those people in Spandex on a bike just going for it,” she says. “But that’s the culture out there. So for me it’s like, ‘When in Rome…’”

Humphries, an adventurous traveler who spends as much times as she can outdoors (hiking mountains in Colorado, swimming through underground caves in Mexico, sandboarding in Peru), describes herself as a “fall in love with the place you’re in” kind of person. She finds out what the locals love and jumps right in.

She’s bringing the same approach to her newest surroundings. So far, that’s meant jogging up the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum, eating cheesesteaks, Wawa and “wooder” ice and soaking up the sun down the shore.

“I’m sorry to say the only thing I knew about the Jersey Shore was the TV show, but I’m changing that,” says Humphries, who is speaking as a panelist for SJ Mag’s Women’s Empowerment Series on December 9.

Humphries joined FOX 29 in February as the co-anchor for the 5, 6, 10 and 11 pm broadcasts after six years in Des Moines. Part of what drew her to FOX 29 was its “hyper-focus on local reporting,” she says, which she considers the best way to really get to know, understand and connect with viewers.

“On one of my first assignments outside the studio, I met a woman in South Jersey whose son passed away after an accidental overdose following years of suffering concussions from football,” she says. “Her story was so impactful. Those are the things that really stick with you.”

Philadelphia is a different pace from Des Moines, a city which she calls a pretty unusual market – thanks to the Iowa Caucus. Humphries covered four major election cycles and interviewed some of the key players in the 2016 presidential election, including Donald Trump, but she never saw herself as a political reporter.

“It was incredible to have access to those politicians who would become household names just a few months down the road,” she says. “But political reporting takes a special personality – you have to live for it.”

“I like to dabble,” she adds. “But is it something I want to immerse myself in 24/7? I don’t think so.”

Humphries loves stories that allow people to connect to one another. While in Des Moines, she won two Emmy awards for her work hosting roundtables on gun control as well as on the early impact of the #MeToo Movement.

“I’ve always believed that it’s very important to sit down and have real conversations with people who have different backgrounds and perspectives,” she says. “It just made sense to use the platform of my job to do that.”

Humphries grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and stayed in state for college at the University of Illinois and then graduate school at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. Ever since her first journalism class in high school, she was hooked.

“I always knew a typical desk job wasn’t for me,” she says. “I love the concept of being able to work on a different story every day, to start with a clean slate every day. I come into work, and I never know what’s going to happen.”

Her favorite days, Humphries says, are when breaking news hits. “There’s an adrenaline rush in the newsroom. Everyone forgets what time it is. We’re so focused on getting it right and figuring out how we’re going to tell the story,” she says.

Her most notable experience so far came this past summer when a man shot six police officers in an eight-hour standoff in North Philadelphia. When reporting on high-stakes stories like that, she says, it can be hard to find a balance between professionalism and humanity.

“You have to understand the level of gravity in what you’re dealing with,” she says. “But if you become overwhelmed by grief or fear or sadness, you can’t communicate the story.”

It can be scary, Humphries says, but energizing too. It’s an experience she feels creates a bond within her team in the newsroom. Her co-anchor, Jason Martinez, is also new to the town and station.

“There’s this added challenge of trying to figure out the city and establish ourselves at the same time,” she says.

Humphries typically heads into work around 2:30 pm and goes home around 11:30 pm unless there’s a sports game or other live event – then you can find her in the studio well into the early morning hours. This is much to the chagrin of her adopted terrier, Elenor, who the anchor says has “a little less time and patience for my shenanigans” in her old age. She spends her mornings getting to know the city (partly so she can get around without using Google Maps).

“Once you have the lay of the land, you start to find those interesting quirks,” Humphries says. “You start to understand what stories people might be interested in and what activities they like.”

“In Iowa, it was biking,” she adds. “I’m still new in town, but I can’t wait to figure out what I fall into here.”


You can see Shaina at the final panel of our Women’s Empowerment Series, “A New Kind of Girl Power,” on December 9. Get your tickets here.

December 2019
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