Milwaukee Talks: Diane Pathieu, Channel 4 news
Channel 4 anchor and reporter Diane Pathieu always figured she'd end up working in Milwaukee. The Chicago native visited Wisconsin as a kid, but her career in radio and TV brought her through Iowa before landing here.
A second-generation American, her native language is actually Assyrian, but Pathieu, who joined the station five years ago, has yet to find a way to work it into a newscast.
Pathieu's challenging schedule -- she's up at 2:30 a.m. -- leaves little time for hobbies, but as a self-proclaimed foodie, she's soaking in everything Milwaukee has to offer.
In this latest Milwaukee Talks, we caught up with Pathieu to talk about her career, her hours and how social media has changed the news landscape.
OnMilwaukee.com: Describe for me your career path, please. Compare and contrast the different markets you've worked in.
Diane Pathieu: It didn't start out in television; it started out in radio, actually. When I was in college, I was working three part-time jobs. One was in traffic, for the Shadow Metro Traffic Report in Chicago. I got an internship at the NBC network, WMAQ and ended up staying there throughout my junior and senior years. I was a script buster -- I'd get the scripts ready for all the anchors. Then, I was a field producer. The only thing I wouldn't do is put my face or my voice on TV. That got me my first job out of college, in Dubuque, Iowa. I was an anchor / producer / reporter there, three months out of college.
OMC: What market was that?
DP: At that time, it was like 88. Small, but not tiny. I had a pretty decent tape because I had more experience than all the other people who were applying. I moved there for a year and a half, then I went to Cedar Rapids.
OMC: Was that a step up?
DP: Sort of. Numerically, it's a lateral move, but it's a completely different and bigger audience, with more responsibility. I was there for three years; I got to do a lot of really fun things. And then came Milwaukee.
OMC: As a Chicagoan, had you spent time in Wisconsin?
DP: Oh yeah. Whenever we vacationed, we were one of those families here with the Illinois license plates. The Dells, Elkhart Lake, Paddock Lake. I always knew, going into the business, that I wanted to at one point or another I'd work in Milwaukee.
OMC: Really? Why?
DP: It's close to home but far enough away. It's a good news market. TMJ has a great reputation for being a very aggressive news station, and I really wanted to work for them.
OMC: You have two pretty different jobs you do every day. You switch from reporter in the morning to anchor at noon.
DP: I tell people I kind of have three shifts. I either just report, I report and anchor, or I just anchor. (Sometimes) I fill in at the 3-4 p.m. newscasts, which means I anchor all day. Anchoring and being in the field are two completely different beasts. When I'm in the field, I interact with people and meet people that I otherwise never could. I love both of my jobs them differently, but it's nice when it's snowing out to anchor.
OMC: Does reporting make you a better anchor?
DP: I think you shouldn't do the anchoring thing if you've never done the reporting thing.
OMC: How are the weird hours treating you? Do you get used to them?
DP: You don't. They're horrible, there's nothing nice about them, but I've been doing them for eight years. It feels more normal than a 9-5 would. I still get up at 6 or 7 on Saturday and Sunday, but it's not too bad. I'm supposed to go to bed at 8, but I don't go to bed until 9. I sneak in a nap.
OMC: You're very active on Twitter. How is it changing the your job?
DP: When I first started using it, I was really weirded out about it. Who wants to know what I'm doing every minute of the day? Who cares that much? But it's been nine or 10 months and it's really cool. It's so instantaneous, especially if you're working on a deadline. It allows you to be so interactive with your viewers.
OMC: I notice that you'll talk to your competition, which is cool.
DP: It always was a deep, dark secret, but in the field, we always have talked to each other for years and years and years. It's not like we're exchanging trade secrets, but it's good to keep everything nice online.
OMC: Do you get to work any Assyrian into your newscasts?
DP: As much as I can't believe over the years I haven't, I would like to at some point because I'm fluent in it and I probably should. My dad is from Lebanon and my mom is from Syria.
OMC: Is there an Assyrian population in Milwaukee?
DP: Not very much, there are some, but it tends to dominate in really large cities.
OMC: I know you're a bit of a foodie, too ...
DP: Oh yes. When I try to tell people how much I love Milwaukee, I tell people the honest truth: My parents who have never lived anywhere else but Chicago and their native countries, come to Milwaukee to have dinner here. Milwaukee has unbelievable variety, unique flavors -- I can't even tell you how much I love the restaurants here.
OMC: Where do you like to go?
DP: I am a huge fan of the Zarletti family. Anything Bay View has to offer, I'm there. One of my favorites is Café Lulu. I love Honeypie and Trocadero for brunch. For Italian, I love Tenuta's. I have a place for every kind of food I'm in the mood for. It's so terrific here.
OMC: You've been here for five years. Are you recognized everywhere you go?
DP: When I don't have the hair on or the face on, no one recognizes me. I really look like I'm a 17-year-old girl in gym clothes. But when I do get recognized, I appreciate that very much, it means people are watching and loyal.
OMC: Can we expect you stick around Milwaukee for a while?
DP: I haven't figured that out yet. I wish I had a straightforward answer, but the way this business is going, I don't know if anybody can necessarily answer that. To be honest with you, I didn't think I was going to be here this long. I thought I would've been gone after my first three-year contract. When the second one came along, the economy just crashed, and I thought, why would I want to go anywhere else? I'm putting down roots, I'm meeting the city leaders, how things work. Why would I want to start over in these kind of times?
Very attractive girl but she talks tooooooooooooo much and tooooooooooooo fast!
One of the hottest news chicks in these here parts.
"TMJ has a great reputation for being a very aggressive news station, and I really wanted to work for them." You might want to change that to work for John-David Morgan? Just a thought, since they have so much integrity. Great job TMJ.
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