All Articles Tagged "brian williams"

Did Brian Williams’ ‘Today’ Show Interview Help?: Making A Professional Comeback After Lying

June 19th, 2015 - By Tonya Garcia
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Now that we have word of NBC’s plans for both Lester Holt and Brian Williams, it’s time for Williams to take to the airwaves in the hopes of rebuilding his career and reputation. Once the face of NBC News — smart, trusted, a leading voice for good journalism, and a good sport known for making a pit stop on the set of Jimmy Fallon’s late night show to slow jam the news — he’s now been pushed to MSNBC to start from scratch.

This morning, the Today show aired an interview taped over two days between Williams and Matt Lauer. Prefaced with Lauer’s note that there were “no conditions or guidelines” placed on the interview, he went about asking Williams direct questions about why he lied and what he learned from the humiliating experience of being caught and suspended.

By way of explaning the embellishments he made to his experiences covering big stories, Williams said, “It had to be ego that had to make me sharper, funnier, quicker than anybody else.”

In that, Williams is not alone. Professionally speaking, there are only a few reasons why someone lies: to cover their a$$ after making a mistake, to play hooky, or to seem better and more important than they actually are. Williams’ reason falls squarely in the option three category.

For Williams, this is especially egregious. The facts are (supposed to be) at the heart of what journalists do. To that, Williams said, “I am sorry for what happened here… And I expect to be held to a different standard.”

In fact, for anyone in a position of authority, be it a manager or a high-level executive, there’s the expectation that this person is a leader in not just skill but rising to a certain level of integrity. Which is what makes getting snagged all the more embarrassing and cringeworthy.

The jury is still out on whether Williams is on the path to redemption. He’ll likely never rise to the status he once held. But holding a place at MSNBC, at the very least, leaves the door open for him to make segment appearances on NBC and slowly work himself back onto some top-level stories.

For the rest of us, the road back is a little easier and a little harder at the same time. Easier because we don’t have the glare of the media spotlight to answer to. Harder because it’s Williams’ fame that can also soften negative reactions from the bosses.

The first step, however, is a proper apology. The tail end of that interview has a good example of what an apology should sound like. There’s an admission of wrongdoing, what sounds like genuine contrition, and strong statements about his soul-searching and the changes he’s going to make going forward.

You must say the words, “I’m sorry.” You’ve heard the fake apologies on reality TV where the person has a million excuses for what they did and starts pointing out what others did — the mitigating factors — that prompted the bad behavior. Nope. That’s not an apology. That’s a concession. It’s meant to make the apologizing party sound like they’re taking the high road rather than admitting guilt. An apology is both taking responsibility and accepting the repercussions that come with wrongdoing.

Next, you have to be patient. Don’t expect to be brought back into the fold like nothing happened right away. You have to earn your good reputation again.

Finally, you have to do the work and act with integrity. If you’re given a second chance you have to prove why you’re deserving of it.

Really, there should be no lying to begin with. Be honest about all of your accomplishments (Claim them ladies! No need to wait to be acknowledged all the time!), but also be forthcoming about the errors and shortcomings. You’re human. And in the end, demonstrating that you know how to get the job done even when you’re working outside your area of expertise is a sign of just how fantastic you really are.

h/t Mediaite

Meet Your New ‘NBC Nightly News’ Anchor: Lester Holt Takes Brian Williams’ Seat… Permanently

June 18th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Lester Holt will permanently nab the NBC Nightly News anchor seat which formerly belonged to the embattled Brian Williams, who was suspended for exaggerating news stories, Variety reports.

Williams isn’t totally booted off the network though. The disgraced anchor will be demoted to a lesser position that will be mostly with MSNBC (the exact role is currently unknown). At the same time, Lester Holt — who served as Brian’s fill-in after the network slapped Williams with a six-month suspension — will become “the first African-American solo anchor of a broadcast network’s evening newscast,” Deadline said.

Williams’ misfortunes began in late January when soldiers blasted the news anchor for fibbing about his “helicopter attack” in Iraq back in 2003. Williams claimed that the aircraft he was in was forced down by a rocket-propelled grenade, but military men came forward to say this was not true — the chinook ahead of Williams, not the one he was in, was hit.

“When he was on the air on the Letterman show, I was going crazy,” pilot Christopher Simeone told the New York Times, referring to Williams’ recounting the incident on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2013. “I was thinking ‘This guy is such a liar and everyone believes it.’”

Williams later apologized, saying he his memories were “conflated.”

Williams was kicked off the air in February and the network launched an investigation into “Conflategate.” According to Deadline, senior executive producer Richard Esposito found 11 instances of Williams fabricating stories, “including his account of his time in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, claims he flew into Baghdad with SEAL Team 6, etc.”

Holt has been at the network for 15 yearsBut who is the “widely-respected” Lester Holt? Newsday highlights Holt’s career milestones: “He reported on the Iraq war in 2003 from the Kuwaiti border, later moving in the troops; he reported from Lebanon in 2006 during the war between Israel and Hezbollah; he was on the ground in Haiti in 2010 immediately after the massive earthquake there; he covered the Arab spring in Cairo and the nuclear crisis in Japan in 2011.”

Holt has always been a key player at NBC, but he never really garnered the TV stardom Williams did. Newsday attributes this to Holt’s quiet personality: “He doesn’t gossip about coworkers or — like some famous TV news stars who will remain unnamed here — provide delicious off-the-record snark about his peers.”

Variety jokes that Holt will do just fine at NBC — as long as he can “keep his facts straight about the chopper.”

Who Needs Brian Williams? Lester Holt Keeps Ratings High For “NBC Nightly News”

February 24th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Lester Holt kept NBC Nightly News in the ratings lead as he assumed Brian Williams’ empty seat after the disgraced anchor was slapped with a six-month suspension for lying about being hit by enemy fire in 2003 during a helicopter ride in Iraq, EurWeb reports.

For the week of February 9, NBC Nightly News was the most-watched evening news program pulling in an average of 9.4 million viewers. ABC World News Tonight With David Muir followed with 9 million viewers. CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley came in third with 7.6 million.

“NBC news isn’t seeing any serious collateral ratings damage from suspending anchor Brian Williams over false statements he made about his Iraq reporting,” EurWeb said, quoting the Los Angeles Times.

According to a CNN/ORC International Poll, 52 percent of respondents said that NBC should allow Williams to come back and anchor NBC Nightly News; 40 percent disagreed. Among non-White participants, 60 percent said that Williams should return to his post while 33 percent did not concur.

“The poll results show a generally forgiving attitude among Americans. But the 4 in 10 who say Williams should not be allowed back on ‘Nightly News’ signifies a serious problem for NBC moving forward,” Brian Stelter wrote for CNN Money.

But according to another online survey conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, a leading media consulting firm, minorities were a little bit more apprehensive about letting Williams return to his throne.

“We found African American and Hispanic respondents were more likely to feel Williams’ suspension from NBC News was appropriate,” Jaime Spencer, senior vice president of the firm, told Journal-isms. “Hispanics were less likely to feel he should be fired, while African American respondents’ opinion on NBC firing him was not significantly different than the overall sample.

Zooming in on Black pollers, Spencer added, “When it comes to regaining credibility, African Americans were more likely to be undecided.”

It’s important to note that since NBC Nightly News has been under the press spotlight following Williams’ suspension, the leading ratings could be attributed to heightened media attention, as well. Only time will tell.

Do you think Holt should take Williams’ seat?

Meet Lester Holt, Who’s Stepping In At “NBC Nightly News” During Brian Williams Scandal

February 11th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Lester Holt has grabbed the reigns at NBC Nightly News while disgraced anchor Brian Williams learned his fate for “misremembering” that he wasn’t in a helicopter that came under rocket attack while he was covering Iraq combat in 2003.

“I made a mistake in recalling the events 12 years ago,” Williams said last Wednesday on air, according to The Guardian“I want to apologize. I said I was travelling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] fire. I was instead in a following aircraft.”

The network decided to suspend Williams for six months without pay, IBT reports.

“This has been a painful period for all concerned and we appreciate your patience while we gathered the available facts. By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate,” Steve Burke, NBC Universal’s CEO, said in a statement last Tuesday.

While Williams falls from his perch, Holt takes the throne. But everyone wants to know — who is he?

Holt rose through the ranks after launching his career as a local news reporter in Los Angeles and Chicago, Mediaite reports. In 2007, he landed a position as a weekend anchor for NBC Nightly News. Holt also nabbed a weekend co-hosting gig for Today and a seat at NBC Dateline.

“Holt has been NBC’s all-purpose understudy for over ten years, having filled in for Matt Lauer or Tom Brokaw before he became Williams’ go-to backup,” Mediaite added.

Holt earned the nickname “Iron Pants” due to his ability to remain on air for long bouts of time, IBT said. “…He can sit down and anchor for hours,” MSNBC’s Mark Effron told People (via The Heavy).

During his double-decade career, Holt received 11 Emmy nominations, IBT added. “He won as part of the ‘Today’ show team that won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Morning Program in 2010.”

And here’s an interesting tidbit: Holt is an actor, too. He’s appeared on a few episodes of 30 Rock, where he played himself. And he guest starred in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Holt, a musician at heart, can also play bass (both electric and upright). Catch him playing with The Roots on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.

Having earned his stripes at NBC, some wonder why it has taken this long for Holt to be offered a seat at the throne.

“He deserves his shot as a permanent anchor, not just as a temporary stand-in for the untrustworthy Williams,” Michael Cottman at BlackNewsWeb wrote.

Brian Williams Apologizes For Excluding Arsenio Hall From News Segment About Late-Night Hosts

February 20th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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late night graphicBrian Williams took a few minutes on the air last night to apologize to Arsenio Hall (and call out some other mistakes NBC News has made) for a huge oversight in a segment he did about late-night TV hosts.

As everyone no doubt knows at this point, Jimmy Fallon made his debut on Monday as the host of The Tonight Show. The news marks a shift for the 60-year-old show in an effort to attract a hipper, younger audience. In addition, the show has moved back East, setting up shop with The Roots in New York City.

Brian Williams ran a segment on Monday that included an interview with Fallon and a graphic (above) that was meant to illustrate the various hosts who are “slugging it out” in the 11/11:30 pm time slot that Fallon now occupies. Missing from the graphic was Arsenio Hall. Seriously though? Carson Daly?

Arsenio was not happy about the omission and took to his monologue to voice his complaint. The most compelling argument he makes is the one about the much-revered Johnny Carson; he notes that he’s the only late-night host to have survived the competition with Carson. Then he called in Suge Knight for a little muscle and gave out the NBC newsroom phone number so fans could call to express their dismay as well.

Brian Williams offered a mea culpa last night, noting that Arsenio “took them to task,” and that they previously left a state off a map and misspelled “Philadelphia” once. The point is, they make mistakes. Most importantly, he promised it would never happen again.

Kudos to Arsenio for calling attention to his achievement. No sense in being shy.

Daddy’s Little Girls: Stunning Celebrity Father-Daughter Combos

June 14th, 2013 - By M A
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Adriana M. Barraza / WENN

Adriana M. Barraza / WENN

With Father’s Day just around the corner, we thought that some of our favorite, fabulous celebrity father-daughter combos deserved some love. From daughters just as famous as their celebrity daddies to little girls who have shied away from the spotlight, these duos have truly shown what good genes can do. So without further adieu, a salute to 14 wonderfully attractive father-daughter duos.

No Student Loan Needed: These Famous Names Became Successful Without A College Degree

June 5th, 2013 - By Blair Bedford
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Getting a college degree is a prerequisite for many jobs and highly recommended if you want to make it in many industries. But there are many people who have also managed to build successful careers without getting a diploma. We take a look at a few of them and try to analyze how they did it.

Apple’s Latest Media Move: Tim Cook Open Up to the Press

December 6th, 2012 - By Kimberly Maul
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AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Is Apple putting its CEO Tim Cook on some sort of media offensive? Bloomberg Businessweek spoke to Cook, his first in-depth, wide-ranging print interview since taking the top title in August 2011. Additionally, Cook will appear on NBC’s Rock Center tonight, in an interview with Brian Williams.

In the interview with Bloomberg Businessweek’s Josh Tyrangiel, Cook discussed his personality and dealing with the fame of being Apple’s CEO; the changes the company has made while still holding on to its core values; the Apple Maps debacle; the recent firings of Scott Forstall and John Browett; and Apple’s product line.

“Not allowing yourself to become insular is very important—maybe the most important thing, I think, as a CEO,” Cook said during the interview. “Now fortunately, I think it would be really hard for a CEO of Apple to become insular, but maybe it could happen. I don’t know. But between customers and employees and the press, you get a lot of feedback. The bigger thing is processing and deciding what to put in the distraction category vs. where the nuggets are.”

One major revelation was that Cook, who has spearheaded transparency and charitable programs during his time at Apple, plans to bring some Apple manufacturing to the US in 2013.

“Next year we’re going to bring some production to the U.S.,” Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek. “This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people and we’ll be investing our money.”

The news turned around Apple’s stock price today, which had fallen on fears that taxes resulting from our fall off the fiscal cliff would impact how much investors would take home.

But all the talking with the media is surely one more of Apple’s very calculated media moves, like their big events to announce new products. USA Today brings up the ongoing legal battle with Samsung and the onslaught of competition, which, mimicking its iconic logo, could take a bite out of Apple’s market share. Part of the Apple brand was so intrinisically tied to Steve Jobs, now that some time has passed maybe the company is trying to build a stronger bond between the Apple brand and Cook? If that’s the case, will it work?

NBC to Air Telethon for Hurricane Sandy Victims

November 1st, 2012 - By Tonya Garcia
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Christina Aguilera, dressed to visit her son’s school on Halloween, will be part of the Hurricane Sandy telethon airing tomorrow. Image: Cousart/JFXimages/

NBCUniversal announced today that it will air “Coming Together” a benefit to help needy victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and West Virginia. The benefit will air live on NBC stations including Bravo, E!, Style and USA tomorrow between 8pm and 9pm. Proceeds from the telethon will go to the American Red Cross.

Among the scheduled performers are Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Christina Aguilera and Billy Joel. Matt Lauer will host; Jimmy Fallon and Brian Williams will also join in the effort.

Matt Lauer also hosted a post-Hurricane Katrina telethon that raised $50 million for the Red Cross. An NBC spokesperson tells The New York Times  that other stations not owned by NBCU will be allowed to air the telethon if they like.