Shannon Bream, chief legal correspondent for FOX News, spoke at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro Wednesday evening about social media, being a woman in journalism and her books.
Bream was welcomed and introduced by Elon Law Leadership Fellow Courtney Latourrette and Interim Dean and professor of law Alan D. Woodlief, Jr. The conversation held on stage with Bream was moderated by Professor Catherine Dunham.
Immediately diving into the conversation, Dunham asked Bream how she personally feels about her responsibilities as a lawyer to get accurate information when reporting on legal matters. Bream said she absolutely feels a strong obligation to always receive precise figures when it comes to lawful situations.
“I definitely feel the weight of that and I've made mistakes on live television. If it costs you it's hard, you'd want to be first, but what's really important, obviously, is to be accurate,” Bream said. “And we learn through trial and error, but we try not to ever make those errors on the air and quickly resolve them if we do, but it happens. … We're humans.”
Bream believes knowing that law is very important to understand, helps to show more than what meets the eye — there is always a deeper meaning when it comes to certain cases.
“I think that law school is good at stretching your brain in so many different ways, making you see that there are multiple sides to any story,” Bream said. “So it really causes you to look at different interpretations and the fact that people can see the very same car accident five different ways. And it taught me a lot about having a broader perspective.”
Bream was asked about her thoughts on safety for women in the lawyer and media space. She said being familiar with what the law states is highly important — doing research will help for anyone who is questioning a situation one is in. Along with doing research, Bream said being aware of safe spaces is helpful when in the workspace.
“I was very familiar with what the law said. And there's so much of it that will tell women, ‘You have an HR reporting structure and you have a place to go,’ but when you see that in practice, when I saw it with clients and when I experienced it myself, you're asking women and men to think of the victims of harassment clearly,” Bream said. “But when you're asking them to go through an internal recording structure, it's tricky because you worry about, ‘Are you putting your career on the line?’”
Bream acknowledged the bravery on many fronts for these women who have spoken out against any sort of harassment — therefore drastic changes have been made. Bream said as her time in these workspaces continues to grow, she sees many improvements for women and gaining the respect that is deserved.
“I think on many fronts for women and all kinds of different careers and industries and it took a lot of brave women stepping up and taking risks that opened that conversation for everybody else,” Bream said. “I can speak for us internally about how things work now, it is a much more open conversation about one of the things I used to do as an attorney.”
Social media has made a huge impact on news coverage, according to Bream.
“Posting on social media so the rest of the world knows what’s happening is an incredible gift in that way, but it's also a place where you really have to do your homework and go to trusted accounts,” Bream said. “I think that there are good ways to use social media … but always with a cautious touch.”
Attendee of the lecture, Diana David, said she respects that Bream does her research to gain knowledge and the truth under any topic she studies.
“I think she's a person of integrity. And she truly does research everything right she talks about you can't say that about all of the legal analysts on TV,” David said. “And she tries very hard to keep her opinion of it and do the research and see where it takes her.”
The evening also consisted of questions about content from Bream’s New York Times bestselling books. She spoke about her early childhood and how her mother has had a huge impact throughout her life.
“My mom always emphasized education,” Bream said. “And so from a young age, she wanted to make sure I learn to read. Only because she knew that once that happens … the world is open to a child and in a lot of different ways.”
Bream shared advice with the audience that one should never take “No” for an answer no matter where you fall in life.
“I'm always asked by students, ‘Best advice?’ And I always say don't take ‘No’ for an answer. Because you'll hear that a lot whatever your field is, whatever your station or season in life is. You're going to hear it know a lot whatever you're trying to accomplish whatever your dream is, whether it's trying to build a family or whether it's trying to get that first job or whatever it is,” Bream said. “It's okay to expect that you're going to hear ‘No’ a lot because all it takes is one person to see the unique value of who you are, what you're trying to do or what your skill set is. And it may take a lot of notes before you get there … but you will get there.”