The anchors on their first newscast together in 1989. Photograph courtesy of NBC4 News Washington
Do you socialize outside of work?
Gentzler: We know each other’s families and invite each other to parties, but no, generally we’re not running in the same circle. I’m hanging around with friends from my kids’ schools, and he’s on his Harley.
Was it strange not being home for dinner when your children were younger?
Gentzler: I go home between broadcasts, so my kids have grown up thinking everyone’s mother goes back to work at 9:30 at night. It used to be go home for bath time and reading. Now it’s go home and see if you can get them off the computer to talk to you for 30 seconds.
How do you deal with reporting so much bad news?
Vance: We make it a point to distance ourselves from “if it bleeds, it leads.” By the same token, you have to report what happened today. What you don’t do is pack it all up in the beginning of the show—three people got shot here, somebody got cut there, somebody else was strangled over here. I’ve always looked at the news I deliver from the point of view of the audience. If I’m thinking, “Why would I want to hear that?,” I’m going to be careful about how it’s delivered.
What happens when there’s a story you have to report that you don’t want to report?
Vance: It doesn’t happen a lot.
What I do is the news. My job is to tell people what happened that day the best way I can, and it’s not for me to decide what I won’t tell them. There are stories that are by their nature abhorrent, and there are others that I think are utterly ridiculous. There are stories I wish I didn’t have to report. But that’s where it stops.
My husband said he saw you reporting on Snooki from Jersey Shore and he could tell you did not want to be talking about her.
Vance: Please tell your husband I said thank you. I don’t mind letting people know: This sucks, and I really don’t want to do this, but it’s my job. I’m glad to know that message is being received. Who gives a s--- about Snooki, and why should we?
On my way here, I saw an ad on a bus stop for Bob Ryan and Doug Hill, now working together as meteorologists at WJLA. What was it like for you when Ryan left last year?
Gentzler: It was really awful. We love Bob. We miss him terribly—not only our relationship with him off the air but what he brought to our family on the set. We very much like Doug Kammerer, his replacement, but we were really sad to see Bob go. I’m not angry. I understand he made the right decision for him. Now I want to beat him—I don’t want him to do well in the ratings over there.
Vance: Kick his butt and then go have a drink with him.
Gentzler: That’s right. And let him buy.
Next: On-air antics