Reporting on the White House for EWTN

Reporting on the White House for EWTN
Susanne LaFrankie, a parishioner of Christ the King, Haddonfield, and former anchor/reporter for WPVI-TV Action News, is now Chief White House Correspondent for the Eternal Word Television Network.

Susanne LaFrankie, a parishioner of Christ the King, Haddonfield, and former anchor/reporter for WPVI-TV Action News, is now Chief White House Correspondent for the Eternal Word Television Network.

Susanne LaFrankie achieved success in the demanding field of television news, but after 10 years she gave it up for the also demanding job of raising a family.

Now, her children grown, she’s back on television, this time using her journalistic skills as Chief White House Correspondent for the Eternal Word Television Network.

And, hustling back and forth regularly between Washington and her home in Haddonfield, she couldn’t be happier.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, as one of five children to a devout Roman Catholic mother and father, she moved with her family to northern New Jersey and Westchester County, N.Y., before achieving a bachelor’s in fine arts, human communication from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.

Next, she landed a job at Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV Action News, working as an anchor/reporter for over a decade. She was an award-winning journalist for WPVI, receiving multiple honors from the Associated Press, reporting live from the White House and Supreme Court (on Planned Parenthood, no less), and interviewed First Lady Barbara Bush.

From 1997 until last fall, she was busy raising three children (now two in college, and one in high school) with her husband in their Haddonfield home, and active at Christ the King Parish and school. “I was a lunchroom mother, a field hockey mom, I taught journalism at the school, and I am a Eucharistic Minister at the parish,” she said.

Last year, she learned of a position with EWTN, the global Catholic media giant, as Chief White House Correspondent for the station’s daily News Nightly television program out of Washington, D.C. To land the job, she started watching EWTN more, hired a photographer, and put together two stories on Pope Francis and the Obamacare debate.

“The photographer and I went to the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia,” where she filmed her pieces and interviews. The pitch worked, and she was hired by the network last fall. Now she works with producers, editors, reporters and photographers to create a daily half-hour “objective newscast with a Christian Catholic perspective” on a network that is broadcast to over 140 countries and territories worldwide.

“I prayed for many years as to what God wanted me to do next after my kids were grown,” she said. “I wanted to contribute to a faith-based organization that centered on spreading the word of God and the Catholic Church.”

The Catholic faith has always been an integral part of her life, she said. “Much of my life growing up centered around our family’s Catholic faith. My father had a heavy influence as did my dad’s parents and his six siblings. In time of joy and trial I have been able to rely on my faith for support and celebration.”

When EWTN came calling, “it was divine intervention,” she said.

“My family’s been very supportive,” she said. “It’s good for them to see me do something that means so much to my faith.”

On Monday mornings, she takes an early train to D.C’s Union Station, a short walk away from the EWTN offices. She comes back home on Thursday nights, and her weekends are spent with family.

When sitting on the train and walking to EWTN headquarters, she prays about what’s best to cover.

Every night, she looks over President Barack Obama’s schedule for the next day to see if there is anything relevant her viewers should know about, to help “create a newscast that’s uniquely in the Catholic perspective.”

“I try to put myself in the shoes of Catholics, and find out what they find interesting and what impacts their lives. We try to find stories that you don’t see elsewhere.”

Through the streets of D.C., from Capitol Hill to the White House’s West Wing, LaFrankie reports on national and international news, attending press conferences in the White House briefing room and focusing her work on the legislative and executive branches of the government.

She attended the recent National Prayer Breakfast, has interviewed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Speaker of the House John Boehner, and reported on such topics as Pope Francis’ role in improved relations between the United States and Cuba, and an upcoming documentary being produced on Kermit Gosnell, a convicted killer and abortion doctor.

She also covered the recent March for Life in D.C. With her daughter, a student at The Catholic University of America, marching, LaFrankie was glad to see a youth movement at the march. “Young people look at this as their human rights cause,” she said. “The abortion issue is the genocide of our time.”

LaFrankie is excited about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the United States this fall to address Congress and attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Her take on the pope: “He is very committed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church. He wants to widen the tent and be welcoming and loving and Christ-like.”

Although she works with a small staff, LaFrankie sees the work that can be done and the impact EWTN News Nightly can have in bringing a Catholic perspective on national and world events.

“I’m part of a wonderful team of people with a common mission. I’m blessed to be able to do this.”

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