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Journalist Jennifer Griffin says working in the news cycle often means disappointing her kids
Being a working mother in journalism is no cake-walk. Just ask Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin.
Griffin knows that having an intense job means she has to disappoint her three kids from time to time by missing events, PEOPLE writes. But having a journalist for a mom has made Griffin’s kids into ambitious and independent people at a young age, Griffin said.
Fox journalist on juggling work and family
With an NPR journalist for a husband and a platoon of budding writers for kids, the national security correspondent is raising a whole family of journalists. Together with husband Greg Myre, Griffin has two daughters in high school and one 9-year old son. The girls are taking after their parents, writing for their high school paper. Luke is a “World War II expert.”
“They were surrounded by journalists. They were surrounded by discussions about current events and foreign affairs and tough issues from the beginning,” Griffin, 49, said.
Tracking high-profile stories means that Griffin and her husband miss out on a lot of time with their kids. But it also left Griffin’s three children to develop a sense of independence, the Harvard graduate said. She told PEOPLE:
They grew up with a lot of independence having parents who had to drop things based on the news cycle. They knew that we were often having to leave them. We’re often unfortunately at times disappointing them by missing events because news gets away.
Griffin covered the Clinton campaign for Fox, an experience she described in 2016 as “very challenging,” especially when it came to making time for her family.
When she’s able to get away from the news cycle, Griffin enjoys spending time with her family and journalists all over the world. She misses the journalists she has met in places like Russia, Islamabad, and Jerusalem. She said:
One of the things we miss about being overseas is the community of journalists and how would spend a lot of time socializing together in the off hours. We kind of recreate that at our house in D.C. A lot of those journalists have come back home and are based here.
Family of journalists
Griffin’s daughter Annalise, 17, will follow in her parents’ footsteps by enrolling in a summer journalism program at Northwestern University. Amelia, 15, writes for the paper at her high school.
Griffin arranged a meeting between her son Luke, the “World War II expert,” and Defense Secretary James Mattis, who he impressed with his knowledge of the Vietnam war. Why did the U.S. lose? Their M-16 rifles kept jamming. Griffin told PEOPLE:
They went over maps of Afghanistan, as to how the Afghan War was going, and Luke asked the Defense Secretary how many more troops he needed to win in Afghanistan. Then at the end of this 25-minute sort of meeting of minds Mattis said, ‘Luke, do you have any more questions?’ And Luke asked him a very specific question about the M16 [rifle] because in Luke’s words, that’s the reason we lost Vietnam, because the M16 jammed. And at that point Mattis looked at me and said, ‘Who is this kid?’
Griffin’s aspiring journalists will be coming into an industry that has seen major changes in recent years because of digital media. But Griffin, who started out as a freelancer in the Middle East, doesn’t think digital technologies like Twitter have changed journalism all that much. “But I feel like it’s not such a shock to my system,” she said.
Griffin, a journalist at Fox since 1999, does not blame President Donald Trump for the way social media has impacted how people consume news. “Whether President Trump was president or not, we live in the information age,” Griffin says. “It’s exhausting, but it was inevitable that we would get to this point. The question is, how do we get enough sleep and stay healthy?”
Getting sleep and staying healthy is especially important for Griffin, who survived stage-III breast cancer. In her off-time, she enjoys yoga. “I try to go to yoga once a day,” she said. “Either in the morning or evenings. I don’t always get there, but going to hot yoga the best sort of detox from a day of news.”
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