What it Takes to Meet the Press

Melissa Holzberg at Meet the Press
February 05, 2018

By Melissa Holzberg, PCM ‘18

I had the opportunity to intern at NBC’s “Meet the Press” (MTP) this fall and was given the rare opportunity to continue my internship at MTP for the duration of my senior year.

Now that I’ve spent five months working the early morning Sunday shift and the Saturday scramble to put together the show, I know what it will take over the next few months at an internship and company I’ve fallen in love with.

“Meet the Press” is the longest-running television show in history. The show began in 1947 with Martha Rountree as its moderator. As the first Sunday morning public affairs show, “Meet the Press” became known as “America’s Press Conference of the Air.” For each half-hour show, Martha Rountree invited politicians to answer questions from journalists similar to modern press briefings held by government officials.

Quickly, the show gained traction and was moderated by Bill Monroe, Roger Mudd, Marvin Kalb, Chris Wallace, Garrick Utley and Tim Russert. Under Russert’s directions, “Meet the Press” was extended to an hour-long program and expanded to include panel discussions. Today’s format with moderator Chuck Todd continues this vision.

Behind the cameras in the Meet the Press studio

A team of producers, researchers and writers work behind the scenes of “Meet the Press” endlessly scrubbing through transcripts, video clips and newspapers to find the right sound bites and quotes to use for the show.

Our goal is to push the conversation forward, and hold leaders accountable while putting together a clean show. At first, it was overwhelming, but I feel lucky to work with some of the most hands-on mentors I’ve ever had.

Each week, interns are put in charge of research projects, social media posts and wrangling guests early on Sunday morning.

Before working at MTP, my experience in broadcast journalism was limited. I hadn’t edited video since taking my Introduction to Digital Media class sophomore year. But, thankfully, those skills came back like riding a bike and my experience with MTP made me a more confident editor.

My SMPA classes like Digital Media, Research Methods and Political Speech Writing made me more aware of how politicians answer questions, how to fact check stories and how to put together the perfect digital package.

My SMPA education and experience at MTP taught me that behind the cameras, television news is just like any other news story. Journalists are striving to find the truth and hold our leaders accountable — with just a bit more makeup on set.