Linsey Davis
Covering essential news, in essential times
By Kate Morgan

ABC News Correspondent Linsey Davis – who grew up in South Jersey (“That still feels like home to me,” she says.) – has found herself at the top of the news reporting game, having covered the stories most of us are talking about every day. In fact, in 2015, she was the only reporter to interview comedian Bill Cosby amid his rape scandal. 

“I ended up getting this great, exclusive access to Bill Cosby in the wake of all those allegations,” Davis says. “When the Harvey Weinstein situation came along, it seemed natural that I’d cover that, too. Like, ‘If you can cover Cosby, you can cover Weinstein.’ It was something I continued covering.”  

Much of Davis’ reporting in the months since those major stories broke has continued to focus on the #MeToo movement.  

“It’s been one of the main issues of the last year,” she says, “and it’s been really enjoyable for me to be right there as that history is being made.” 

Davis, 41, joined ABC News in 2007, after earning her chops at local stations in Indianapolis and Flint, Michigan, where she covered Hurricane Katrina and reported from Olympic Games in Turin, Italy and Athens, Greece.  

For ABC News, she covered the Miracle on the Hudson and the death of Michael Jackson. She also produced a viral story for Nightline, called “Single Black Female,” which explored why African American women are the least likely demographic to get married.  

She credits her high school, Moorestown Friends, with sparking her interest in broadcast journalism. “We did something called intensive learning,” says Davis, whose parents still live in her hometown of Moorestown. “You take a week off from classes and join a group that goes out and studies something. I ended up being a part of the media group. We went to KYW and watched a news broadcast.”  

Now she finds herself a professional journalist in controversial times. And the fact that some issues have caused such deep rifts between Americans makes them vital to report, Davis says. Plus, it’s more important than ever to get it right.  

“I think our job as journalists is to present the facts, right down the middle of the road,” she says. “I’m hoping at some point we’ll be able to get beyond this idea of labeling something ‘fake news’ because you want to dismiss it, or you don’t believe it. I think there’s a segment of the population that just wants the news to reinforce their own beliefs, and that’s really dangerous. The positive side, though, is that I think it’s made us all sharper. We have to pay more attention to dotting our I’s and crossing our T’s, because there are people waiting to take us down over one mistake.”  

So, Davis says, she’ll continue reporting on divisive issues – even though sometimes it means she has to deal with internet trolls.  

“One thing that’s changed things a lot is social media,” she says. “Before, you’d report a story and maybe if somebody felt strongly about it, they’d call the station and leave a message. Now, people can say whatever they like on Twitter, Instagram, whatever.”  

Davis is also aware that, as a woman of color, she is uniquely positioned to cover race and racism, which she has done extensively. Though she didn’t face the same hurdles as other women who came before her, she points out that when it comes to the faces we see on TV, those like hers are still underrepresented.  

“There were women of color before me who came to TV news, broke down those barriers, did the job and did it well,” she says. “They unlocked the doors for me. It’s not like they were standing wide open by the time I was starting out, but they weren’t locked anymore.” 

“One thing I can say,” she continues, “is this thing can happen where a network or station gets their one black female and says, ‘Well, we’ve got her!’ Whereas if you hire a white guy it’s not like you say, ‘OK, we’ve checked that box!’ I still see a little bit of that, but I do think it’s improving all the time.”  

Davis has also been very open about her personal struggles. Her son, Ayden, is a happy, healthy 5-year-old, but she faced a difficult few weeks when she was diagnosed with preclampsia. Davis developed severe anxiety, and it took several months to get it – and her blood pressure – under control. In early 2018, she penned a brutally honest essay about the experience for Guideposts magazine.  

“I just think we do ourselves a disservice as women and mothers when we don’t share our stories,” she says.  

From the moment she knew she was pregnant with Ayden, Davis says, she and her husband, Paul, began reading to him.  

“Reading was important to me growing up,” she says, “but at that point I probably hadn’t read a children’s book in 35 years.”  

Now, she’s the author of one and has a second book on the way. “I started thinking, ‘I could write one of these!’ Storytelling is storytelling, you know? I just felt like lately the news is all really unfortunate, and this was a way I could write something uplifting.”  

Her first book, “The World Is Awake: A Celebration of Everyday Blessings,” was inspired by a very toddler-esque query from Ayden. “He asked me, ‘Mommy, does God open the flowers?’” Davis recalls. “I loved that he’d made that connection between nature and God, and I wanted this book to give other kids a gentle introduction to who God is by looking at the creations all around us.”  

Her second book, slated for release this summer, is called “One Big Heart.”  

“The inspiration is this current climate and those feelings of racism and sexism that are really pervasive,” Davis says. “It’s a story about how we all look different and have different interests, but in so many ways we’re all the same. In the end, the one thing God gave all of us is one big heart. The important thing is how we love and see each other. It’s a celebration of being more alike than we are different.”

January 2019
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