NBC’s Kate Snow on Juggling Linear and Streaming News Offerings

By Mark Mwachiro 

The midday news offering NBC News Daily recently scored a rare ratings victory over GMA3 during the week of October 2, 2023, when it beat ABC’s afternoon news program by +6,000 in the key demographic of Adults 25-54.

The broadcast edition of NBC News Daily averaged 268,000 viewers in the aforementioned, advertiser-preferred demo for the week of Oct. 2— the show’s first weekly demo win over GMA3 since the week of January 2. (To be clear, GMA3 returned to No. 1 in the measurement for the week of Oct. 9)

Launched in 2022, NBC News Daily airs on NBC affiliates as well as the ad-supported NBC News Now streaming service. It’s co-anchored by Vicky Nguyen and Morgan Radford from 12-2 p.m. ET, and Kate Snow and Zinhle Essamuah from 2-4 p.m. ET.


TVNewser recently managed to pry Snow away from her busy schedule to get her thoughts on NBC News Daily as a dual linear and streaming news program, and how the breaking news coverage out of Israel has kept her on the air for an extended period.

*Note: This interview was conducted on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023.

How do you feel about the recent ratings win over GMA3?

I don’t look at the ratings, honestly. I heard from my boss that we had done well last week, but honestly, I am so focused on the day-to-day of our show and producing the very best show we can. It just feels good to know that people are watching. It feels good to know that we’ve been growing and have an audience out there; I think it’s a testament to what we’re doing. Every single day, we are producing a news program for people who want to know what’s going on in the world. It is not an opinion program. It’s not lots of talking heads. It features our reporters, features our correspondents, who right now, for example, are in Israel and in the field gathering information constantly. Those are the heroes of our broadcast. Those are the people who make our show distinctive. Zinhle and I are the faces anchoring, and hopefully, people like us and tune in for us, too, but I think the real magic of NBC News Daily is that we have this enormous organization of NBC News behind us and correspondents covering so many different things on any given day. We pick and choose the things we think are the most relevant to people’s lives. The most necessary to know and the most interesting, and that’s what we’re doing day in and day out. I’m happy that it’s working. I’m happy that people are responding by tuning in.

Why do you think NBC News Daily is catching on?

I know in my life, I’m running into people a lot now who have it on at work or have it on in the home, and they’re watching because they just want the facts about stories they want to know. What is it that they need to know to be informed citizens? That might be on one day, like today, that would be the speaker race on Capitol Hill, and will they actually vote for a speaker this afternoon? It’s Israel today, obviously, but on other days, it might be consumer news – what’s happening with my mortgage rate? What’s going on with the economy that’s going to impact my wallet?

We’re trying to cover all the essentials, all the things that are happening in this world that are important, that you might not be getting anywhere else, that you might not be getting on your social media feed. A lot of younger generation folks are looking to social media for their news. I think the quality of a show like NBC News Daily is found in the curation and the fact that we have people all over the globe sending in reports and looking at different angles. For example, [NBC News correspondent] Jake Ward, one day in San Francisco, might have a really interesting story on artificial intelligence that you will see nowhere else. So that’s the magic. That’s the special sauce I think of NBC News Daily.

You also anchor NBC Nightly News on Sundays. What is the difference, in your mind, between leading the evening newscast and NBC News Daily?

There’s a lot of common ground. The Nightly News is also a digest of the news that is most relevant and most important that day, that night. It is a shorter show; it’s half-hour versus the two hours of NBC News Daily. So that alone makes the shows different. On Daily, we have a little more time to explore. This afternoon (Thursday), we’re doing a mental health segment about the Israel War and how it’s affecting all of us. We do mental health check segments several times a week (and) we do segments about modern parenting. During our E block, which is around the 45-minute mark into the hour, we often have a five-minute or more conversation with a guest on a topic related to health or wellness, mental health, or consumer issues. There are a lot of things we cover, but the idea is we can go deep on certain subjects and, again, we’re always trying to find the things that are relevant to our viewers.

Is there a difference in how you prepare for those broadcasts?

There are different teams, and I think because Nightly is a shorter broadcast, you have less time, you have to distill, and you have to find what is really the most important piece of any story, and that’s a challenge, right? And I love the challenge. Every week, we have debates in our editorial meetings on both shows. I’m thinking of the Nightly process where in the morning, we have one idea of what we might do by noon, but it’s changing by 2 p.m. We have a 2:30 p.m. afternoon meeting, where we discuss, “Is this the lead, or is that the lead right?” We have dynamic conversations all day long before you see the 6:30 broadcast of Nightly News.

It’s a similar process on NBC News Daily. It’s a little bit different mechanically just because we have many more people involved because it’s a two-hour show. So we have segment producers, and more of Daily is live. If you watch Daily, we’re spending a lot of time talking with correspondents in the field, going back and forth, having conversations. Whereas on Nightly, it tends to be a bit more tape-driven. For example, [NBC News chief foreign correspondent] Richard Engel files a piece, which is three minutes long, about Israel. So it requires a little bit of different skills just because the two are different, but we’re all part of the same shop.

What about the streaming audience sets it apart from a cable news audience and a broadcast news audience?

I love that we are on streaming. I love that I am anchoring a show that is seen in the streaming world because that is where so many people are getting their content. Myself included. I have YouTubeTV at home, and I stream NBC News Daily. I stream Nightly News. I stream the Today show. I also can stream MSNBC through that. It’s easy access, and I think what we keep trying to get across is that we are free on a lot of platforms. You can watch NBC News Daily every afternoon by going to our website, nbcnews.com, and clicking watch live, and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

I think we’re getting a lot of audience coming to us from lots of different ways. It’s easy and it’s free, and so I think that’s grabbing a whole new audience. It’s a whole new set of people who have busy lives but realize that they can turn to us. I think we do see when there’s busy breaking news, people are turning to us because they want to be informed.

Four successful and diverse women anchor NBC News Daily. Can you please speak about the intentionality of this?

I feel like that’s above my pay grade a little bit because I didn’t hire everybody, but this is what I’ll say: I think I have been in this business a long time, 30 years, and I am so glad that it no longer matters how you identify your gender. It no longer matters where you come from geographically or what your background is. If you’re good at your job, you’re good at your job. I think the four of us represent four women who happen to be women who have worked really hard to get where we are. We each bring a unique set of skills and a unique background to what we do. I think that makes everything about NBC News stronger when we have more diversity behind the scenes and in front of the camera. This is what I can say about the intentionality.

In general, this company has made a commitment toward diversity, equity, and inclusion. We have a whole unit of people intentionally trying to find those up-and-coming journalists and up-and-coming producers for entry-level jobs, even making sure that we’re not hiring all the same kinds of people. That we look like this country.

And it matters in the newsroom, too. The more perspectives you have around the table — We will debate which story should be leading with, and someone might raise their hand and say, “Wait, I know that area. I know I’m from Nebraska. I know that story.” So, we need all types of diversity in order to be as good as we can at finding and delivering the news.

The Israel-Hamas war has kept you busy as you have been on the air since Sunday. What’s your cheat code for handling this workload?

Coincidentally, a couple of anchors had other shoots and things planned that happened to be on Monday and Tuesday. So, I happened to be asked to do double duty. I did four hours on Monday and five hours on Tuesday because we started at 11 a.m. and went all the way to four (p.m.). Yesterday (Wednesday), I did four hours, and today (Thursday), I’m just doing my show from 2 to 4 (p.m). Nobody’s fault; it was just a coincidence that there were other things in the works that couldn’t be changed. So, I filled in for people. So that’s exceptional; that doesn’t usually happen, but the fact that we were also in breaking news and decided to devote our entire half hour of Nightly News on Sunday and then on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and today we are devoting much of the hours, not all the hours to Israel.

It’s been a lot of work, but I feel lucky that I am safe in New York. My colleagues are risking themselves. They’re in dangerous places right now, and I applaud them for being there and thank God that those people are there because we’ve learned so much, so many horrific things in the last few days, and if there weren’t reporters there, we wouldn’t know.

What does it say about NBC News devoting time and resources to this war and also what’s going on in Ukraine?

My reaction is, of course, we are. This is what we do. This is what we are built for, and what we are providing to the public is the resources of entire teams of people.

I wish people could see how many people it takes to do what we’re doing right now. Hundreds and hundreds of people. It’s everything from the people who are in the field, and you see the correspondent, but there are also several producers behind that correspondent. There are photographers, photojournalists, sound technicians, and then here in America, there are people watching all that tape come in. I was talking to a tape editor yesterday (Wednesday) about how traumatic it’s been for them, and they have to watch everything uncensored and then choose the parts we put on TV. It is a gargantuan effort to cover, and I think what it says about NBC is that we are committed to covering breaking news wherever it is and whenever it is, especially breaking news on this scale. When something like this attack happens, we are going to be there, and we are committed for the long haul, and the same goes for Ukraine. We’ve been on the ground in Ukraine since day one.