DJ: What was your job at Nightline, when did you work there?
SN: I was the ABC Washington Bureau Minority Trainee. I worked at World News Tonight, Newsone, Good Morning America and Nightline. My responsibilities ranged from conducting interviews, cutting packages, researching stories and field producing.
Specifically at Nightline I was the head researcher and associate producer of the "Bush First 100 Days" series. For three months, I helped track and analyze the President's every move in terms of how it would or would not shed light on his presidency as a whole.
I also was hired as a freelancer to help book guests and provide research for the town hall meeting, "America Fights Back." The town hall was taped at the American Red Cross building and focused on the threat of biological and chemical war in the aftermath of September 11.
DJ: What did you learn working at Nightline?
SN: Teamwork is an essential part of tv news that is so often overlooked. Nightline defines teamwork in the newsroom. Everyone -- from the Ted Koppel, to the correspondents, to editors, producers and young staff -- are all an individually intelligent and creative people.
But the beauty of Nightline lies in the music that is made when those individuals pull together for a night's broadcast. It is what sets Nightline apart. And also what makes those who have ever worked for Nightline so loyal to the show. In the Washington Bureau, people jokingly refer to Nightline as a cult because the bond is so strong and the pride is so high.
I also learned the incredible value of really listening to an interviewee when conducting an interview. It is something that is so obvious, but what also separates Ted from the rest. Instead of rushing to get the next soundbite, or focusing on what you want to hear, hearing what someone says to you is the most valuable part of conducting an interview.
DJ: What is your job now, how does it differ?
SN: I am a reporter at News 14 Carolina. News 14 is a Time Warner 24-hour regional cable news program, focused solely on North Carolina to launch this month. Finding another job with the same team mentality was something I sought out and, fortunately was able to find. Everything else is different because Nightline is a completely different format.
DJ: Is Nightline an old person's program, is news gathering
a young person's job?
SN: Most definitely not. It is the most intelligent and comprehensive review of important issues out there and young people recognize that. While it's not the eye candy of MTV, I don't think young people expect huge graphics and light shows when they tune into Nightline.
Newsgathering isn't a young person's job. Look at the anchors who recently traveled to Afghanistan or Ted who traveled to the Congo last year. Youth is a part of TV News, but not because older people can't do the job. Looks are a part of TV news whether we like it or not, and TV news hasn't traditionally treated older people well.
DJ: Has Nightline outlived its function?
SN: Nightline could never outlive its function. While 24-hour news dominates the day, Nightline has never existed to regurgitate the news of the day. Creativity goes into making each show so that the issue of the day is taken a step further, and then, even beyond that. It is something that the magazine shows strive for, but don't get as often or nearly as well as Nightline. And people expect that when they watch Nightline...why else would so many people stay up so late?