Brian Williams writes: As a lifelong and dedicated magazine reader, I could not believe our good fortune when we hired former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker. Mark became our Washington Bureau Chief following the death of Tim Russert—a tough job, a big job, and it was so great to have him there. More broadly, it has always been such a luxury to have access to Mark's mind. Harvard-educated, connected, experienced and razor-sharp, he's been part of our on-and-off-air analysis team since the moment he took the position. Sadly for us, Mark is leaving to take a big job at CNN. Which then, in turn, takes our story briefly back to 1994 or so.
I was Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News. Our great veteran travelling producer Russ Moore, who in demeanor and speaking style bore a physical (if not ideological) resemblance to an Ed Rollins/Dick Cheney genetic combination, came to me one day to say it was time to work a young man into the mix. The young man he had in mind had worked his way up from the entry-level rank of intern, and his name was Antoine Sanfuentes. Russ, knowing that music is the way to my heart, quickly added that Antoine was a musician...and a photographer as well. Antoine joined our team, and over millions of miles we had only good times, and never had a cross word. He was a tireless worker, of persistent and endless good cheer and astounding competence and cool under fire for his age...or any age. As the years went by, Antoine stayed at the White House, working with the likes of David Gregory and the late David Bloom—and then worked his way up to Deputy Bureau Chief.
Today Antoine Sanfuentes was named our Washington Bureau Chief by NBC News President Steve Capus. While it admittedly makes me feel old, mostly it makes me enormously proud. Our Washington Bureau is such a crucial part of our operation—and this was such a crucial selection—it is just great news all around.
I'm writing this from our news set, where we were expecting a live statement from the President—which did not happen at the rumored/appointed hour. We are watching the situation in Egypt very closely, as is much of the world—and we'll have the very latest for you tonight, including the reporting of Richard Engel, at street level in Cairo. Importantly: The White House is not denying that there is contingency planning underway should Mubarak be deposed, among other options. This sure looks and sounds like a revolution in the making, to many of those who are watching. It’s certainly an event of great moment, perhaps in its early stages, for Egypt and that entire region of the world.
On another note: Watch our music site for the interview I conducted today with the astonishingly talented Lissie, a musician I'm proud to have first mentioned on Jimmy Fallon's show months ago. You'll get to see her on Jimmy's show soon. First, you'll get to see our conversation and her performance in the days ahead. We'll alert you when it’s up.
We hope you can join us tonight for our Friday night broadcast.