Mornings were the best part of my day -- those walks from Grand Central Station to 30 Rockefeller Plaza seemed to encapsulate all the excitement and thrill of a day at NBC Nightly News.
At the entrance to NBC News Headquarters presides a mural of Zeus (complete with white beard and lighting bolts in his grip). Underneath, it reads: "Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy time." And there, right then, is when you understand the institution that resides three floors above; its power, responsibility and reason for being. I truly believe NBC Nightly News stands as a similar sentry at the gates: A guardian of the truth and of objective fact.
In this Information Age, there are now more sources for news than ever before. But with this saturation has arrived a confusing noise; it's often unclear what source is truly right, which one is objective.
The daily goal at NBC Nightly News is simple: Read every newspaper, watch every interview and press conference, skim every wire story, and talk to every correspondent around the globe as many times as possible in order to get it right.
In the hallways, it's like an episode from The West Wing meets the RAND Corporation think tank: A brisk walk from one side of the office to the other might be all the time you have to convince Executive Producer John Reiss to run with a new angle on a story. C.J. Craig is played by Senior Foreign Producer M.L. Flynn, alongside some new characters: 'Intel Guy' (Investigative Producer) Robert Windrem, who seems to know more about what's going on behind the cloak of federal secrecy than those who are running Langley. Most offices look like they could belong to those of college professors: History books, political theory journals and weapons system anthologies line their walls to the ceiling. It's the best cast of characters you could ask for, whose knowledge and passion for their work is only made better by their quirks and eccentricities.
The above does not even begin to describe the exhilaration I felt inside one of the country's most respected journalistic communities. The 20+ minute broadcast is an amalgam of all the news that has been printed, reported and broadcast that day. It is as objective a news source as is humanly possible, and it's written and delivered in such a way as to be easily understood. While it lives off of commercial revenues, among those who work in the Nightly newsroom, the broadcast lives because it is a
necessity and honor to bear the stories of the world. The motto for the last year has been, "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams: Reporting America's story." Had I the guts to walk into NBC News President Steve Capus' office during my-two month tenure here, I would have made one suggestion: Change the motto, make it: "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams: We've cleared away the noise; come take a look... and listen."