I’m a bit of a news junkie. I think it all started immediately after 9/11 — being in America when that happened really impacted upon me, and gave me this burning desire to know what was going on in the world at any given moment. To this day, I stay glued to the 24 hour news networks. I wake up to Robin & Company on Headline News, at night I like to watch Brian Williams, and — allow me to completely out myself politically — I watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann just about every night.
Mind you, I’m not always on the same page with Olbermann’s views, but I find the show immensely entertaining. I love how he pronounces Bill O’Reilly’s name. I love how regular correspondent Craig Crawford of Congressional Quarterly talks — when he gets excited, he’s like a southern Don Knotts. I love Oddball and Worst Person in the World, and I even love when Keith Olbermann is out of the office. Because then the brilliant and lovely Alison Stewart gets to sit in.
Back in MTV’s Nineties heyday, Alison Stewart was part of the MTV News crew. I miss that aspect of MTV the most — perhaps the ratings on The Week in Rock would never have been able to compete with those of My Super Sweet Sixteen or the endless repeats of Pimp My Ride that seem to be on every weekend nowadays, but I really miss having a weekly music news show on the channel. It gave the program an edutainment edge that is almost completely lacking nowdays, save for the work of Sway, Suchin Pak, and Gideon Yago (and yes,Kurt Loder still works at MTV — click here for an amazing clip from his earliest days in 1988, when he was still fresh-faced and bright eyed. I’ll always love the Loder).
Alison Stewart came to MTV in 1991, and I remember her being very involved in MTV’s 1992 Choose or Lose campaign. Even though I was a young teen living in Trinidad at the time, that election seemed so compelling and interesting. Clinton versus old man Bush versus Ross Perot was a fascinating political fight to the finish, and I find it interesting that all these years later, the same two names still are vying to run the country. Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush… Political dynasties die hard, I suppose.
I distinctly remember Alison Stewart being a part of that exciting time in young people’s journalism, because she inspired me to blaze my own trail. Seeing a young, bright, go-getting reporter type who had such a fresh look – a mane of fabulous, free-form curls, and a complexion that stood apart from the then-typical reporters on American television, struck a chord with this little Caribbean girl.
She won a Peabody for her efforts at MTV, and left the network in 1996. Post-MTV, I lost track of Alison Stewart. According to her Wikipedia page, she went to CBS and jumped around from program to program, reporting for 48 Hours and my beloved CBS News Sunday Morning. (that show makes you feel like you’re sitting in a rocking chair on a porch and watching the sunrise. It’s slow, steady stories about the most random and interesting topics. I love it, and if that makes me a dork, so be it).
Following a brief stint with ABC, Alison made the move to MSNBC and it seems that she’s found her feet. She hosts The Most, a news show that I’ve never seen because it airs at noon daily, when this chica’s stuck in an office cube. But on occasional evenings when Olbermann’s out, Alison gets to show her claws and speak out against the issues the Countdown staff are shedding light on. If you don’t like your news opinionated, if you angrily use terms like “the liberal media,” or if you are a Bill O’ Reilly fan, you’ll probably hate me for posting the following clip. But I’m gonna, and here’s hoping our possible political differences won’t drive you away from Afrobella forever.
Alison Stewart is about to make yet another career change — she’s in the process of creating a 24-hour multimedia news service on NPR, and she will be co-hosting a morning drive show. Hooray! The Bryant Park Project sounds fresh, interesting, and engaging, just like Alison Stewart is. I’m looking forward to tuning in, and finding a news source that speaks directly to listeners like me.
Congratulations, Alison! You’re Afrobella of the Week!