Spring 2013

Hostin tells stories that teach law



Hostin tells stories that teach law
Meredith Zinner
Sunny Hostin '90 originally thought journalism was too competitive, so she went into law.

Asuncion “Sunny” Hostin ’90 knows pressure. She was the first in her family to attend law school. As a federal prosecutor, she put child sex predators behind bars. Real pressure, she says, is what she feels as a broadcast journalist.

“We all have an off day, but usually that’s just between you, your boss and co-workers,” Hostin says. “If I have an off day, a million people see it.”

Hostin is a legal analyst for NBC’s Today show and CNN, and anchor for ABC World News Now and America This Morning. She has covered many big-name cases in recent years, but says the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin cases are the most memorable. Viewers criticized Hostin for saying the government hadn’t proved that Anthony killed her 2-year-old daughter. The jury reached the same conclusion and acquitted Anthony of all but four misdemeanor charges.

“I got death threats and hate mail,” Hostin says. “But that goes with the territory when you’re in the public eye. As a lawyer, I’m pleased that we have freedom of speech.”

As a student at Binghamton, she studied communication and wanted to be a journalist but was worried about breaking into the highly competitive field. Instead, she went to law school at Notre Dame and later became a federal prosecutor. For her work in putting away sex predators, Hostin received an award from former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

Hostin says her love of law led her back to her initial career choice. After she spoke at a conference in 2006, a producer for CourtTV (now TruTV) offered her an on-air gig. She subsequently became a regular on Bill O’Reilly’s show on the FOX News Channel, which led to her current jobs.

“This [line of work] is so humbling and so powerful at the same time,” Hostin says. “I get to tell people’s stories. I’m a teacher of the law and teacher of the facts. It’s a sobering experience because I want to be right all the time.”