Who the Folk?! Seth Kaplan

Seth Kaplan on winning an Emmy, why Minnesota is the best news market and belonging to two synagogues.

Congratulations on winning the Emmy for News reporting for Fox News 10@10. Is this the first for you? Did it come as a surprise?

It’s not a first for me. I won last year for Best Newscast and won the year before that for best weekend newscast. But this was a big one; News Excellence is for the overall product, so that’s really cool.

We do really great work. I don’t think it was a big surprise. We have a great market for television news here. It’s stiff competition, but we do a fantastic job capturing stories in our community that make a difference.

Why do you think Minnesota has one of the best news markets in the nation?

I think this market is different because of our viewers. They’re highly educated and have some of the highest number of college degrees per capita. Because we’re a humble and outdoorsy type of people, individual stories get told more often as opposed to just breaking news. That’s part of our strategy. We know that people are yearning for more than just fires and shootings. They want the nice story that will make you smile as well.

How did you start off into the TV news field?

I started off as the sports editor for our school newspaper. I always loved to write. We would go on family car trips and I’d be writing in the backseat. I had a passion for sports and wanted to be the next Bob Costas so I looked into TV journalism. My first job was at an NBC affiliate and I was on air for some of it, but I really loved the behind-the-scenes, producer role because it involved more creativity. I’ve stayed as a producer since.

Has social media changed news reporting in the last five years?

Social media has changed the landscape in a big way —some for good, some for bad. Now there’s pressure to get it right AND be first. If we are going to break some news, we’re not going to wait until 5:00 pm. We may report it on social media at 3:30 pm. But there’s a balance. Should we let our competitors know or can we hold it until the newscast? If it’s real breaking news, we’re going to tweet that info out, though.

I’m a huge believer in social media overall. It’s an aggregator for me. I think it’s good in the long run for anybody who wants to know more about the world we live in—the different opinions, different views.

What’s your favorite Jewish food?

I’d probably say knishes. I also better say my mother’s brisket or else I’ll get in trouble. I love making my own matzo pizza, too. I bake it in the oven. My wife turned me onto that. You wait a little longer, but it’s great.

What is your favorite Jewish holiday?

It may be weird to say this, but I really enjoy Yom Kippur. Every year my family holds a break fast. It’s a good time to get together, which isn’t always easy with the hours I work. Plus, I enjoy getting to synagogue on the high holidays for the spirituality of Yom Kippur and Kol Nidre. I welcome the chance to reflect and focus.

What synagogue do you belong to?

We belong to two synagogues. Temple Israel is the one I grew up at and we belong to Adath as well because our kids go to school there. My family has been involved with Temple Israel for 30 years and they have been very involved with the congregation. It was such a great place to grow-up and discover my Judaism. They’re good people, good rabbis. It’s a big synagogue, but if you went on a Friday night you would still get the feel like a small, community congregation.


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