By Kevin Gray
Recently, The Today Show was broadcasting segments about celebrity fashion at the Emmy Awards from the NBC morning show’s Burbank, Calif., bureau. Plans called for one segment to air during both the 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. hours. The first segment—hosted by Bobbie Thomas and Natalie Morales—went very well.
“For the 9 a.m. hour, our senior producer decided to add another Emmy fashion segment,” recalls Emily Goldberg ’05, producer. “Our team had to coordinate and make sure everyone was aware of the change, figure out what celebrities the hosts could talk about, and write the script in about 30 minutes. It required a lot of thinking on our feet.”
Like the planned segments, the additional coverage went off beautifully, and the viewers, of course, had no idea of the rush behind the scenes. For Goldberg, it was just another day on the job at America’s top-rated morning show. Her vast duties include shooting and editing footage, writing scripts, booking guests, producing live segments, and more.
She also meets interesting people. In her work for the web team on The Today Show summer concert series, she interacted with top-name musicians such as Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.
“You really don’t know what each day is going to bring,” says Goldberg, a history and government & law graduate who was recently promoted to producer. “I come into work expecting to do X, Y, and Z, and breaking news may occur that requires last-minute shoots and script-writing. There are many unexpected variables, so you just go with the flow.”
For live segments, things become much more unpredictable when there are children and dogs involved, Goldberg laughs. Or when the host is conducting a video interview on Skype, and the call drops out. “You have to anticipate any type of scenario so that you’re prepared,” she says.
Goldberg is proof of the power of preparation and research. An externship with William Wermuth ’98, head of NBC’s page program, arranged through Lafayette’s Offices Career Services set the stage for her future at NBC. She toured the studios, spent an afternoon learning about news programming at MSNBC, and met with Today Show co-anchor Matt Lauer. Later, she was selected from among a group of 10,000 applicants for an NBC page position. Despite no guarantees of a job offer, Goldberg impressed her bosses and was hired as an assistant to a senior producer and worked her way up to researcher before being promoted to associate producer last year.
While at Lafayette, Goldberg worked as an EXCEL Scholar with Donald L. Miller, MacCracken Professor of History, on two of his books about World War II. “He was very inspirational in terms of teaching me the art of storytelling. Even though it was history, we always approached it by identifying the story we had to tell.”
The news and features she produces today are a different kind of storytelling but, Goldberg says, they boil down to the personal anecdotes of the people involved and the messages they want to get out.
“Everybody has a story to tell, whether it’s a World War II airman or a middle-aged woman trying to figure out if she is becoming her mother.”