NBC News


Brian Williams’ return: back to the future and the search for redemption

Brian Williams returns to television news next week. (This is a 2014 file photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP, File)

Brian Williams returns to television news next week. (This is a 2014 file photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP, File)

It will be an awkward, painful but perhaps restorative Back to the Future when Brian Williams returns to work Monday.

The star anchor-reporter arrives at cable MSNBC after a fall from grace and losing a prize job as the face of broadcast giant NBC News.

We’ll see if the public (and some unhappy colleagues) feels the now “former ‘Nightly News’” anchor’s mandated penance is sufficient after admitting to making up stories related to a helicopter mission in Iraq. He returns Monday and is expected on air Tuesday for coverage of Pope Francis’ U.S. visit.

A new “breaking news” set has been built but, beyond that, it’s still unclear to many how he’ll be used, when he’ll be used and how he’ll fit in ultimately. Read more


Has the media forgotten Nepal post-earthquake? NBC’s Richard Engel clearly hasn’t

NBC’s “Dateline” will air a Sunday special, “Avalanche,” on Mt. Everest and the earthquake in April that killed more than 8,000 people. Veteran correspondent Richard Engel interviewed survivors, including climbers, guides and Sherpas, who share their accounts of their agonizing attempts to survive.

The show airs at 7 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) and includes previously unseen video of the earthquake, including some shot by a hiker at Everest Base camp.

NBC's Richard Engel at Everest base camp. (Photo courtesy of NBC News)

NBC’s Richard Engel at Everest base camp. (Photo courtesy of NBC News)

I asked Engel about Nepal, the quake and media coverage. When he mentions “Everest base camp,” he’s referring to one of two campsites on opposite sides of the mountain (one in Nepal, one in Tibet), with the Nepalese camp at an altitude of more than 17,000 feet. Read more


Here’s why NBC News took Facebook’s Instant Articles deal

NBC News' launch story on "Instant Articles" includes tilt-to-view photos, autoplay videos and an interactive map of a California almond farm. (Image credit: NBC News)

NBC News’ launch story on Facebook’s Instant Articles includes tilt-to-view photos, autoplay videos and an interactive map of a California almond farm. (Image credit: NBC News)

After Facebook’s Instant Articles program went live Wednesday morning, many media commentators wrote about its potential drawbacks for publishers.

Over at Fortune, Mathew Ingram called the deal a “Faustian bargain,” saying it allowed the social networking giant to tighten its grip on news consumers; David Nield at Readwrite warned the program was symptomatic of the continued consolidation of the Internet; writing for The Awl, John Herrman observed that news outlets were likely to clash with Facebook by running afoul of its content standards.

But Julian March, the senior vice president of editorial and innovation at NBC News, isn’t wringing his hands over Facebook, or the deal it extended to his network. Read more

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Networks use drones to cover Nepal quake

(Screen shot from NBC's drone coverage of Nepal.)

(Screen shot from NBC’s drone coverage of Nepal.)

NBC News’ Miguel Almaguer used dramatic video captured by a drone in his reporting from Nepal this week.

The images soaring above the ruins of destroyed temples in Kathmandu are a demonstration of how valuable these drones can be in adding context and scale, even while they are currently banned for commercial use in the U.S. It is the third time in recent months, NBC News has used unmanned drones to report a story.

NBC included the images in NBC Nightly News and Today. It also included a version just for online. NBC also used the video to show the damage of some of Nepal’s towering historic temples.

“NBC has been interested in drones for some time so we brought the drone into Nepal and worked with local contacts there to be sure we stayed out of the way of authorities and rescue workers.” said NBC Senior Vice President Editorial Janelle Rodriguez. Read more


Nancy Snyderman leaves NBC News

Nancy Snyderman is stepping down from her position as chief medical editor at NBC News, the network announced in a release Thursday.

Last year, Snyderman took a break from her job at the suggestion of her network after she “violated a self-imposed quarantine after being potentially exposed to Ebola in Liberia,” according to The New York Times. She subsequently apologized for breaking the quarantine. After she got back from reporting in Liberia, Snyderman and her crew “were spotted getting takeout food from a New Jersey restaurant,” according to The Huffington Post.

In the statement from the network, Snyderman attributed her departure partially to her experience covering the Ebola epidemic “and then becoming part of the story” when she got back from her assignment:

I stepped out of the OR a few years ago and it is now time for me to return to my roots, so I am stepping down from my position as Chief Medical Editor at NBC News.

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Career Beat: Randy Archibold named deputy sports editor at The New York Times

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Randy Archibold will be deputy sports editor at The New York Times. Previously, he was Mexico bureau chief there. (Email)
  • Justin Green will manage social media and engagement at IJReview. Previously, he was online editor at the Washington Examiner (IJReview)
  • Andy Lack is now chairman of NBC News and MSNBC. Previously, he was CEO and director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. (Poynter)
  • Bryan Bender will be national security editor at Politico. He is a national security reporter at The Boston Globe. (Dan Kennedy)

Job of the day: Inside Higher Ed is looking for a higher education management and finance reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) Read more


Brian Williams reportedly lobbied to succeed David Letterman

Good morning! Here are 10 media stories.

  1. More tales of tumult from inside NBC News

    Gabriel Sherman's much-anticipated longread about the turmoil surrounding Brian Williams' suspension from the anchor chair dropped Sunday. Among the juiciest tidbits: Williams asked CBS CEO Les Moonves to be considered as a replacement for David Letterman upon the comedian's retirement from "Late Show," according to "a high-level source"; Four NBC and NBCUniversal officials visited Williams at his apartment to notify him he was being taken off the air; Richard Esposito, the investigative producer at NBC News conducting a review of Williams, "delivered a 45-minute presentation at [NBCUniversal CEO Steve] Burke’s apartment" that unearthed "more issues" with Williams' disputed claims; Williams can't talk to the press under the terms of his suspension and "can’t wait until he can speak" publicly about the situation, according to "a close friend." (New York) | "If Brian Williams proposed to CBS that he take over when Letterman retires, that alone is reason he should not return" (@jayrosen_nyu) | "Last weekend, workers at NBC's Rockefeller Center headquarters briefly wiped away promotional photos of Brian Williams." They went back up the next day.

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Brian Williams and the resistance of memory


Career Beat: Audrey Cooper named EIC of San Francisco Chronicle

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Audrey Cooper is now editor-in-chief of the San Francisco Chronicle. Previously, she was managing editor there. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Ann Curry will develop a media startup funded by NBC Universal. Previously, she was a national and international correspondent at NBC News. (New York Times)
  • Steven Komarow has been named news director for Roll Call. Previously, he was an editor at Bloomberg. (PR Newswire)
  • Jason Zengerle is now a political correspondent at GQ. Previously, he was a senior editor at The New Republic. (Email)
  • Jennifer Henrichsen is a technology fellow at Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press. Previously, she was a research fellow at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism.
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NBC backs off of bogus Charlie Hebdo report

CNN | Slate

Pete Williams and NBC Nightly news mistakenly reported Wednesday that the suspects from the massacre at the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo had been killed or arrested.

Both CNN and Slate pointed out that NBC Nightly News erroneously tweeted a report, attributed to “senior U.S. officials” that “1 suspect in the Paris attack has been killed and the remaining 2 are in custody.”

NBC News correspondent Pete Williams then discussed the report with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, before retracting it later that night, according to CNN:

At 8 pm, during MSNBC’s “All In” with Chris Hayes, Williams walked back the report saying, “we just don’t know what the situation is in France tonight.”

“We were told earlier this evening from two U.S.

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