The sophomore, from Tuttle, appeared on the network’s morning news show, Fox & Friends, after winning the Fox News Channel College Challenge, a contest designed to find the next generation of journalists and broadcast their skills.
Paxton was the first winner of the competition to work entirely by himself to produce his report, a feat that impressed Steve Doocy, one of the hosts of Fox & Friends, who called Paxton a “one‐man band.”
Paxton was also awarded an all-access tour of Fox News, seeing everything from corporate offices to high‐tech studios. He also got to sit with country music superstar Charlie Daniels in the green room while waiting to go on air.
Despite all the excitement, Paxton stepped into the spotlight and the cameras calm, cool and collected. “When I did my segment in the studio, I felt so comfortable,” he said. “It was truly like sitting and having a conversation with my dad or mom.”
In addition to his appearance on Fox & Friends, Paxton won $10,000, an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City and an opportunity to intern for Fox News Channel this summer in Washington D.C. or New York City.
When he was first told that he won, the network asked Paxton and his family to keep it a secret. Paxton admits, that was tough, especially for his mother. “Fox News wanted to keep the winner under wraps so that they could make the reveal on air,” Paxton said. “This was extremely difficult for my mother, who was finally allowed to tell everyone on Facebook the day before I appeared on Fox & Friends.”
His mother’s post didn’t go unnoticed. Paxton says he received numerous messages and phone calls saying he had done a great job and had made his family and community proud.
Paxton’s report centered on recently constructed wind turbines in Western Oklahoma and whether they created enough wealth, in the form of jobs and payments to landowners, to justify the funding they received in the form of large tax subsidies.
“I chose this story because I believe that it is important for the taxpayers to know exactly what their dollars are being spent on and whether they are being spent in an efficient manor,” Paxton said.
Though he did all the reporting, camera-work and editing himself for the report, Paxton says he’s just thankful to those who taught him to do so. “Winning the competition is a great honor, but I definitely could not take all the credit for what I have accomplished, I have had some great teachers in the past that got me to this point. They deserve the credit.”
Paxton points to a class he took in microeconomics his freshman year and the instructor, Dr. Bill McLean, for getting him interested in how the government spends taxpayers’ money. “He had a huge influence on me to look into the actual cost of what our government does and how the actions it takes, often with good intentions, can actually lead to more harm than good. Learning these concepts in Dr. McLean’s class really gave inspiration to this story.”
Paxton chose to accept the internship with Fox News Channel in Washington D.C., where he’ll be focusing on congressional, Supreme Court and executive actions. He expects to gain valuable experience this summer, gathering information and news on Capitol Hill and conducting political research for Fox News hosts such as Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren.
To see video of Paxton’s appearance on Fox & Friends, visit http://okla.st/1uij4aT.
Story by Jackson Hodges