Chelsea Clinton has left her job as a special correspondent for NBC News, a position that she has held since November 2011, the network has confirmed. In a statement on the departure, NBC News senior vice president Alex Wallace said, “We are thankful for all of Chelsea’s contributions to NBC News over the past 3 years. Chelsea’s storytelling inspired people across the country and showcased the real power we have as individuals to make a difference in our communities. While she will be missed, we look forward to working with her in the future.” The news was reported by People Magazine.
Clinton herself, 34, has addressed the move in a long Facebook post. The move, she writes, was triggered by her decision to focus her energies on the Clinton Foundation as well as the imminent arrival of her first child. She strikes a gracious tone about her now-former employer: “When I joined the NBC family in 2011, I had long respected NBC’s commitment to telling the stories of ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things.’ I loved watching the ‘Making a Difference’ stories about remarkable people and organizations making a profound difference in our country and our world. I am grateful NBC gave me the opportunity to continue this important legacy.”
The posting also references the various feel-good stories that Clinton executed for NBC News, including “people like Carlos ‘Coach Khali’ Sweeney, whose Downtown Boxing Gym offers kids on the east side of Detroit a lifeline through academic tutoring and boxing instruction” and Principal Peggy Candelaria, “whose Homework Diner in Albuquerque helps kids with their homework and also feeds those same kids and their families.”
Those stories were neither sufficiently frequent nor momentous to earn Clinton the respect of her colleagues and the NBC News brain trust. Her standing within the network appeared to suffer a hit when Politico revealed earlier this year that she had been earning annual pay in the range of $600,000 — or nearly $27,000 for each minute of airtime. That was far above the pay level of an average network correspondent, even one with years of experience; Clinton was a rookie in the craft at the time of her first piece for NBC News in 2011.
Clinton started her tenure at NBC News with a full-on contract but moved recently to a month-to-month basis; her last piece aired on August 1. It was about the efforts of actor Jeff Bridges and a nonprofit, Share Our Strength, to bring meals to children in the summer months, when school meals aren’t available. At the end of the piece, Brian Williams tells Clinton, “By the way, I haven’t seen you for a while.”
Her tenure at NBC News spans a leadership change at the network. Then-NBC News President Steve Capus brought her on board, telling the New York Times that her experience on the 2008 presidential campaign trail with her mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, primed her for the assignment: “She talked about the stories she heard on the campaign trail that she found inspiring and said she’d like to go back and visit some of the people she’d met,” Capus said. Last year the network chose Deborah Turness, former editor of Britain’s ITV News, to succeed Capus. She recently told an interviewer that NBC News had “gone to sleep” prior to her accession.
More to come on this breaking story.