Friday, January 15, 2010

NBC News chief on Haiti: "So many stories to be told! Thanks for a great week!"

It was a bad week for NBC-Universal chief Jeff Zucker (what with Leno and Conan and all), but for NBC News president Steve Capus, the disaster in Haiti was a something of a blessing-- a great opportunity for his division to show what they're made of. In his message to his troops today, he says:

"This is just the beginning:
There's so much suffering...
so much rebuilding to be done...
so many stories to be told."

January 15, 2010
A Message From Steve Capus

There is a lot to cover in this first note of 2010, but before I get to that, I just want to thank everyone for their first-rate work on the Haiti Earthquake coverage. While I write this, we still have no way to calculate the enormity of the devastation, nor the numbers of those who've been lost. It's a calamity, and the challenges of giving it the proper perspective are enormous. Just about everyone in this news division has contributed in some manner to the coverage... but I'm especially proud of the resourceful crews, technicians, producers andreporters who dropped everything in order to establish our presence in Port au Prince and Santo Domingo.

Hats off to Brian Williams, Ann Curry, Al Roker, Kerry Sanders, Michelle Kosinski, Ron Allen, Bob Bazell, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, WNBC's Tom Llamas and their teams of producers and crews who all traveled to a region without knowing the countless challenges they'd face. David Verdi's Net desk team and bureaus have done brilliant jobs managing the logistical and news gathering efforts. We could not have pulled this off without them. At times like these, I am amazed by the breadth and depth of this news division: Over the past 72 hours, I've seen our comprehensive coverage on "Today," "Nightly," MSNBC, CNBC, msnbc.com, the Weather Channel, our owned and operated stations and the NBC affiliates ... all distributed through NBC Newschannel and via our international partners. This is just the beginning: There's so much suffering... so much rebuilding to be done... so many stories to be told.

One related note: For the last 32 years, NBC's Martin Fletcher has lent his considerable expertise to coverage such as the Haiti earthquake. We've always been able to turn to Martin for outstanding field reporting, emotional story-telling, and great camaraderie. Sadly for us, Martin has now had a taste of what's it's like to be a best-selling author. He has "the bug" and wants to purse more book projects. So, Martin has decided to retire from his full-time job with NBC News. However, NBC News will always be Martin's home and we are excited about some future projects that we've begun to consider. We're fortunate that Tom Aspell is already based in the region... Richard Engel spends a considerable amount of time there... and our aggressive partners at ITN are co-located in our new Tel Aviv bureau.

There is more to discuss about topics such as: Dateline's expanding role in NBC's primetime line-up... the considerable success our broadcasts are enjoying these days... MSNBC's upcoming town hall on race... NBC News announcement on DPI (see below)... and so much more. But for now, let's keep our focus on the Haiti crisis. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti.

Thanks for a great week.


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