MSNBC Producer in Documentary Unit
“Our MSBNC team gathered at a makeshift edit facility. We were told that we had rented out this work space/studio and that our team was responsible for creating an hour-long+ show for MSNBC—and they wanted it to air ASAP. With all of what was going on, we needed to get personal stories on air NOW. I remember that we had field producers buying people’s footage off the street; I believe we recorded it on our own cameras and ran it back to the editors. We didn’t have smartphones; we had flip phones, Blackberries, old-school cameras, video cameras, even disposable cameras…getting raw footage was hard and the quality wasn’t good. The footage—we decided—was going to tell the story.
That footage carved the path for us. We were able to tell personal stories of those who recorded what they did. That footage became our historical compass. We were writing, editing, talking on landlines with NBC, police, hospitals, city officials just trying to make sure every bit of information was accurate—which was near impossible. As fast as we could digest all of this information/footage/stories coming into us—everything kept shifting. We’d write one thing and scratch it. We’d edit a time line, and it changed a minute later.
I saw footage that would never, and most likely has never and will never, make it to TV and the general public. It was the most awful footage of death, destruction, desperation by so many people. I remember crying where I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t type. I could barely speak. We were not going home anytime soon—we were going to be there all night, and we were going to be there for days and days.
Miraculously, we did create an hour-long documentary that same night with all of these incredible people telling their horrific stories. I don’t know how we did it. But we did. Our MSNBC team were some of the best producers in the business. We worked together. We consoled each other. We leaned on each other. We cried together. It was teamwork at its finest…and truthfully, that hour-long program that we did that night is work that I will continue to be most proud of.”