Chelsea Clinton’s ‘responsibility’ to be at NBC


Chelsea Clinton, powered by “close advisers,” staff. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Pegged to Clinton’s accession to NBC in the role of television journalist, the story tells a tale of entitlement and charmed existence — no, that’s not extreme enough. It chronicles American royalty.

Have a look at this quote, one that seeks to explain why Clinton came out of the media-snubbing shadows to work at NBC:

“For a multitude of reasons, she decided the time was right to more publicly own a responsibility she feels to serve in the public good,” said Bari Lurie, a former intern in the East Wing of the White House during the Clinton years, whom Ms. Clinton brought on as her chief of staff in September.

Two things stick out here:

1) Bureaucracy. Chelsea Clinton has a chief of staff. So how many staffers does the chief of staff supervise?

2) Sacrifice. Good on Clinton for feeling the tug to “serve in the public good.” It’s a tug felt by millions of professionals of her generation — motivated and talented men and women who want to take that passion and channel it into a career in TV news. As a former editor at TBD.com, a joint Web site-cum-local cable TV news operation at Allbritton Communications Co., I met scores of such folks. They had all long ago made the decision to “serve in the public good.” That was a given.

They came into our offices eager to show that they could do TV news work, which meant taking video, editing video, writing, investigating, blogging, anchoring and mastering all the computer programs in TV land. Many came with reels proving as much. Those whom we didn’t hire would occasionally ask for advice on how to better present themselves.

Would that I had known then what I know after reading this New York Times story. My advice would have been: Get some “close advisers.” Have them arrange “interviews with top network executives.” Call on a big shot at the Creative Artists Agency and have him schedule a meeting or two. Find a network exec who really doesn’t care whether you lack experience, a la NBC News President Steve Capus: “She’s a 31-year-old woman who has had a couple career changes and was taking stock in the next phase of her career.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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