Today show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie and MSNBC president Rashida Jones were recently profiled by the L.A. Times and The Daily Beast, respectively. Both profiles were published Monday morning.
Guthrie is celebrating 10 years as part of NBC’s morning franchise. The lawyer-turned-TV newser started out in the 9 a.m. hour before joining the flagship 7-9 a.m. program after the controversial departure of Ann Curry in 2012.
She told Steve Battaglio:
“I didn’t think I’d last six months or a year, let alone 10 years,” Guthrie said. “I really didn’t. I thought I’m some transitional person and I’m going to be the first casualty.”
Guthrie was also asked about another anchor departure, this one being even more chaotic: Matt Lauer in November 2017. Alongside co-anchor Hoda Kotb, Guthrie told viewers that Lauer — the longest-tenured host in the show’s long history — was fired over sexual harassment allegations.
“It was really heartbreaking because I adored Matt,” Guthrie said. “I loved working with him. But I knew the most important thing I could do was just stay focused and keep going. And having Hoda here — well, I think Hoda saved the show, full stop.”
Another difficult assignment was moderating a NBC town hall last year with then-President Trump. NBC News made the mistake of pitting their town hall against the previously-scheduled ABC town hall with Joe Biden, forcing Americans to choose which program to watch.
However, Guthrie was praised for her performance, as Battaglio notes:
But Guthrie, a former White House correspondent, delivered a skillful grilling of Trump that made viewers and most critics forget about the mess her bosses created. Her suggestion to Trump that he was tweeting “like someone’s crazy uncle” is destined to be a part of campaign highlight reels in the years to come.
Jones spoke to The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove about her “plans for making the Comcast-owned cable network, in this freshly Trumpless news environment with its predictable ratings slide, a go-to outlet for breaking stories, rigorous reporting, and insightful “perspectives”
“The strategy is really doubling down on differentiating between our hard-news programming and our perspectives programming,” Jones said, noting that the ubiquitous dayside chyron on the lower right-hand corner of the screen, “MSNBC REPORTS,” signals fact-based journalism instead of opinion. “The audience needs to understand what to expect of you and to know when to come to you—that’s been a big driver.”
According to MSNBC insiders, Jones’ brisk style of leadership—disciplined back-to-back meetings designed to achieve specific goals, with a minimum of chatter—presents a sharp contrast to the schmoozy, ego-nurturing approach of Phil Griffin, who liked to shoot the breeze with the on-air stars he hired and developed, franchise players such as Nicolle Wallace, Rachel Maddow, and Griffin’s longtime work buddies Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
Jones, previously known as Rashida Adkins, grew up in York, Pa. (and later Richmond Va.), and said she has loved journalism going back to her pre-teen years:
“…we had a two-a-day newspaper, the York Daily Record, so I’d pick up the morning copy on my way to school, and I’d pick up the evening copy on my way back,” she recalled. “I was always just interested in and fascinated by information and news. I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I thought I wanted to be an English teacher because I knew writing and English were two things that went hand in hand. But I remember starting a neighborhood newsletter when I was in the third grade because I liked the idea of talking to people and writing things down.”
Fox News host Dan Bongino was profiled by TCPalm in advance of his new show on Fox News.
The conservative personality discusses his bout with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He credits a viewer who noticed a lump on the side of his neck during one of his broadcasts with reaching out to him and suggesting he get it checked out.
In March, he was declared cancer free. He kept viewers, listeners and social media followers updated throughout the ordeal, which included chemotherapy and the removal of the cancerous lump.
“I spun my wheels about it for a long time” as far as informing the public about his battle, Bongino said. “I didn’t want the show to be about my health. But I didn’t want to leave my listeners in the dark.”