For those of us in New York, Jane Hanson needs no introduction. However, for those reading from Palm Beach, Hanson is as high profile as it gets, and someone who demands your attention.
For more than 25 years, New Yorkers welcomed Hanson into their homes. Beginning in 1979, when she launched her storied career in broadcast journalism, through 2012, when she left her home station at NBC New York, Hanson was a fixture on millions of television sets.
She started her career as an on-air personality and correspondent in New York, as an ambitious journalist with a nose for a news story. Her influence only grew at the network, where she would one day anchor the top-rated New York City morning program, Today in New York, among other shows.
“I moved to New York from the Midwest to enter the New York journalism industry,” Hanson says. “One of the first stories I was sent to was horse rustling on Staten Island and I caught myself asking, ‘Aren’t I in the big city?’ But, from then on, it was scrappy reporting … including being the first person on the air on September 11 — going on the air, really, without knowing anything.
“Every single day was like watching history being made because New York is the number one market in the country. The people that I interviewed were some of the most important figures in the world,” she continues. “You never knew what the next day was going to bring, and that was crucial to understand and always be at the top of your game.”
Throughout her career, Hanson’s reporting won the acclaim of the viewers and her peers alike. She won nine Emmy Awards for her work, one of the four major industry awards given for merit in journalism and reporting. She was also named the Correspondent of the Year by the New York Police Detectives, with a similar honor from the Fire Department of New York. Hanson also won various community awards, given to her from viewers who depended on her reporting every day.
“It’s wonderful to be recognized for your work and an honor to be recognized by your peers with the Emmys,” she says. “It is also, though, just as cool to be recognized by the community. The life of being a television news reporter is the conduit between the story and the viewers when you play this role, there is a big responsibility and an obligation to give back.
“It’s especially significant, to me, and I am very grateful to have received these recognitions,” she says.
Hanson recently traded the cold and winter weather in Westhampton for warm Palm Beach. Like many of us on the East End, though, who are temporary residents of Florida’s coastal communities, Hanson is still committed to making a difference.
And, while she may be off-air, she continues to have her hands in the business that made her a household name.
“First of all, I love the media, and I love helping people find their best selves — to be the best person they can be on any media platform, as well as in front of any audience,” Hanson says, adding, “It is great for me to do this work — it is something that I love.”
She is now the successful owner of a media and presentation training company, where she helps people tell their stories and become more acclimated to the demands of any audience — whether speaking to a television prompter or making a speech before a crowd. Her diverse array of experience in journalism, and understanding of what the reporters, anchors, producers and viewers are looking for in a segment, has helped major business leaders, financiers, tech execs, fashion icons — even aspiring media personalities — become more comfortable presenting who they are, their ideas and perspectives.
“One of the most important things is really figuring out what their message is,” she says. “They’ll walk in the door with five messages, and the audience will never remember. You’re lucky if an audience remembers one or two of them. The second most important aspect is body language, and ensuring that your body language is in sync with your words, which I have found helps people resonate well when making a presentation or a media appearance.”
Hanson hopes her experiences can help others learn, avoid missteps and build their presence to purvey their message effectively. After thousands of hard-hitting on-air interviews, she is able to help others learn not only what to say, but how to say it, and she offers simple solutions to help people communicate more effectively.
And, while a majority of her time these days is spent as someone who helps others hone their message, her presence is not completely gone from the press side — as she frequently contributes to Forbes Digital, offering expert opinion as a communications coach, with thoughts to share.
“I like telling stories. I hope that what people learn from me is to find the courage to speak effectively, to dare to take the risks, to put themselves out there, because great communication is the epicenter of building a better life for yourself — personally, professionally and really every aspect of life,” Hanson says.
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.