The monthly magazine has picked five female news producers to profile. From the three major networks and CNN, these “women who run the show” share their accomplishments, nightmares, and stories behind the story.
“Meet the Press” executive producer Betsy Fischer describes her proudest accomplishment:
Navigating the transition that the program went through after the untimely death of longtime moderator Tim Russert three years ago. I had worked closely with him for 17 years — I’ve been with “Meet the Press” ever since college — and it was very difficult emotionally to go through that personal and professional loss while producing the show every week. But I knew that Tim would want us to move forward and “go get ‘em,” as he would say.
Katie Nelson Thomson, senior broadcast producer of “Piers Morgan Tonight” and former Barbara Walters producer, describes an early “get”:
I arranged the first interview with John and Patsy Ramsey after their daughter JonBenet was found dead in their basement. In my research, I discovered that much of what has been said and written about the Ramseys was completely untrue.
“48 Hours Mystery” field producer Kristin Whiting explains the worst part of her job:
Meeting people in such pain. Like anyone, I am not without vulnerabilities. I felt that covering the school shooting in Columbine might break me. It was my fourth school shooting in short order, and after 10 days in Denver, I couldn’t bear the thought of spending another day among what I call the “ghosts” of the community — an entire town destroyed by tragedy and grief. I went home to remind everyone in my life how much I love them, then flew back to Colorado two days later.
Santina Leuci, senior editorial producer of “Good Morning America,” lives the morning show wars:
I get the best phone calls: One day the Atlanta police called to say they were arresting one of my bookers who was trying to woo a guest from another morning show — while the show was actually on the air, on location in downtown Atlanta. Another producer got locked in a basement by a competitor and couldn’t get out. Another snuck into a competitor’s studio and made off with the world’s fattest cat, and its owner.
There are times, like when I’m strapping on my body armor in Afghanistan or getting ready to shoot an interview with Brian and President Obama, that I feel awfully proud to be doing this job as a woman of color and as a person with a disability. I was born without a left hand, and while it really is a nonissue for me, I’d like to give myself a little pat on the back for having come this far in a job that deals a lot in first impressions, and can also get pretty physical out in the field.