NBC News’ Specials Chief Rashida Jones: ‘Opportunities Come From People Eager to Take on More, Eager to be Helpful, to Stretch Themselves’

By A.J. Katz 

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Rashida Jones, the svp of specials for NBC News and MSNBC was featured in this week’s issue of Adweek.

In a conversation with our colleague Lisa Lacy for the publication’s 40th anniversary issue, Jones spoke about her career path, including how she got her current gig, mistakes made and lessons learned, along with a pro tip for fellow TV newsers.

How did Jones get her gig?

Already a morning show producer before she even graduated from college, Jones developed and honed her skills at a CBS affiliate and The Weather Channel before moving to NBC in 2011. She’s been with the network ever since.

On a big mistake she made:

Jones missed a story about a murder-suicide when she was the news director of WIS-TV.

“I was juggling too much, I was not paying attention to the police scanners … and we were late to the story,” she said. “I was not delegating well and didn’t really have a process set up to account for that.”

Regarding a lesson learned from making that mistake:

But, Jones said, she learned the importance of having processes to expect the unexpected—and of falling on your sword when you make a mistake.

“I realized once I … looked into my boss’s eyes and said, ‘Here’s what happened, here’s what I should have done, here’s the process in place [to prevent it from happening again],’” she added. “I made it productive.”

Last but not least, Jones’ pro tip:

First, build a network early when you don’t need it, “just because as you’re meeting people and making connections, you meet people to broaden your experience and maybe down the line, it’s helpful for your life and career,” she said.

Second, raise your hand.

“Look for opportunities to stretch yourself, look for opportunities to do more work than you’re used to, to be helpful to the organization, to broaden your own horizons,” she said. “Opportunities come from people eager to take on more, eager to be helpful, to stretch themselves. It’s not a means to an end—I don’t know where it will lead—but I am a fan of raising your hand.”

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