What Are You Like?:
Kristen Shaughnessy

Kristen reporting from one of the five New York boroughs.

By Patricia Harty, Editor-in-Chief
March / April 2020

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A NY1 television reporter since 1995, Kristen Shaughnessy says the best part of her job is meeting New Yorkers from all walks of life. Wherever in the five boroughs the story takes her, she feels privileged to share the stories of her fellow New Yorkers. Kristen graduated from Hofstra University with a B.A. in communications in 1990. She started out in radio and then went on to an upstate New York television station before working for NY1. Ironically, she grew up in a house without a TV. After her family’s television broke, they decided reading was a better option. During the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Kristen was one of the first reporters on scene. She arrived before the first tower fell. Due to the loss of cell phone service, she found the nearest pay phone to report back to the studio. Midway through the conversation, she had to drop the phone and run as the tower came down.When not on the anchor desk or in the field, Kristen spends time at home with her college sweetheart-turned-husband professional golfer Joe Bush and their two daughters. She traces her roots back to ancestors who immigrated in the mid-nineteenth century, from the southwest of Ireland.

Anchor and reporter kristen Shaughnessy

What is your current state of mind?
Determined to create lasting change.
 
Your greatest extravagance?
Ice cream and cookies for breakfast.
 

Who is your hero?
Any person who risks the comfort of their own situation to
fight for the truth.
 

What is on your bedside table?
She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey; Catch and Kill
by Ronan Farrow, and Chris McNickle’s Bloomberg:
A Billionaire’s Ambition.
 
First job?
Reporting and anchoring for WGNY radio in Newburgh, NY.
I made five dollars an hour so I supplemented my income with a bartending job at Banta’s, which was right down the road.

Earliest memory?
Hiding my vegetables under the china cabinet in the dining room. I’d fold them into a napkin and then retrieve it after everyone
had left the table.
 
Best advice ever received?
Trust your instincts; intuition doesn’t lie.
 
Do you strike up the conversations on long plane rides?
The last plane ride I took, the person next to me put a blanket over her head and kept it there for the entire trip from California.  That’s about as clear a signal as you’re going to get to not engage.  I’m happy to chat with those who don’t have blankets over their head.
  
Where do you go to think?
On long walks or in bed with a blanket over my head.
 
What is your hidden talent?
After much consideration my husband and I could come up
with absolutely none. Not one. Our girls agree.
Favorite quality in friends?
Honesty and kindness, and if you can make me laugh, even better.
 
Your typical day? 
My only typical days are weekends. I’m up by 2 AM on Saturdays and Sundays; read email about the news covered the night before; check different news sources; do a three-minute plank and sit-ups, shower, get to work at 4 AM; spend the morning with my fabulous weekend team.  After that it can be errands, relaxing, baking, working out, or hanging out with friends. 
 
Your perfect day?
Spending time with Joe and the girls, especially when we go away and there are no distractions.
  
Favorite country you have visited?
I have two – Ireland and Denmark. Ireland for the people and the beautiful countryside. Denmark because it’s very walkable and I love all the restaurants along the canal in Copenhagen. 
 
Best opening line in a book or piece of music?
From our wedding song, “Cross My Heart” by George Strait: “Our love is unconditional, we knew it from the start.”
 
Movie you will watch again and again?
Green Book.
  
What drives you?
Realizing we aren’t promised another minute, so we have to make the most of the time we have. 

Your most embarrassing moment?
Some things are better left unsaid.
 
Your favorite places?
By the beach when the waves are crashing. The city streets early in the morning.
 
Favorite sound?
Our girls laughing together.
 
Favorite smell?
Coffee grounds and fresh brewed coffee.
I just don’t like to drink it.
 
Favorite meal?
Breakfast. I could eat it for any meal.
 
Favorite drink?
Sad to say but a big glass of ice water

What trait do you most deplore in others?
An oversized ego. You can learn a lot about someone by how they speak to a waiter or waitress.  
 
What is your motto?
In the end we always regret the life we failed to live.
 
If you weren’t doing what you are doing, what would you do?
Earlier in life: FBI agent or police detective.
Future life: College professor. 


What question do you wish someone would ask you?

What are some of the wildest things you’ve seen coming into work in the middle of the night? 
 
What have you been working on recently?
Taking more time for myself, reading more books, and learning to slow down.

Proudest honors?
Being one of Irish America’s Top 50 Power Women; being named Hofstra University’s Alumni of the Month; and winning an Associated Press Award for “Best Documentary” for a six-part series I wrote and edited for the 15th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks. I’m proud that my live report from the World Trade Center site as the first tower fell is used by college
journalism professors. 

What’s your Irish heritage?
Lawrence Shaughnessy and Mary Murphy
Shaughnessy were born in Ireland. So were James Shaughnessy and Kate M. Burke Shaughnessy. Our family came over from Ireland during or after the famine. Many settled in Northampton, M.A. There is a “Shaughnessy” monument or stone at St. Mary’s Cemetery there. My grandpa, Duke Shaughnessy, played football at Colgate University in the middle and late 1920’s. He was friends with Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., who went to school there, too. In his autobiography, Powell (the first person of African-American descent from New York to be elected to Congress) called Grandpa a “football great.”  

What’s next for you?    
I’ve never been more unsure of that answer.  When you sue your company for age and gender discrimination, the future becomes a big unknown. Whatever happens, I’m glad we started a discussion about a subject that for too long has been cast into the shadows.
 
What are you like?
Someone who will always cheer you on, unless I find out you’re someone who doesn’t root for others. ♦

One Response to “What Are You Like?:
Kristen Shaughnessy”

  1. Vincent Gardino says:

    This is a terrific interview which sums up a class act.

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