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David Gregory, an AU alum and host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” spoke to students about his experiences in journalism in the SIS atrium Dec. 5.

NBC’s David Gregory urges students to expand horizons

David Gregory advised students to keep an open mind and think outside their majors during a casual coffee talk in the School of International Service Atrium Dec 5.

“Don’t be siloed,” Gregory said. “When I show up on campus, I don’t walk into the School of Communications because I’m a journalist.”

The 1992 SIS alumnus was dressed more comfortably than his usual attire as host of NBC’s Sunday news show “Meet the Press.” He sat his long limbed body on top of a table rather than the armchair next to him when he addressed students.

Gregory told students that, although he was not an SIS major, he thinks journalism permeates every school on AU’s campus.

“What I love about SIS is that the tentacles go everywhere, and I hope minds go everywhere as a result,” he said.

Gregory said the liberal arts curriculum at SIS allowed him to explore global issues and practice critical thinking, both invaluable tools in journalism. During the discussion, students challenged Gregory on the sensational state of journalism today.

“I think it’s incredibly important that inside this fantastic building, there is an active discussion of American journalism,” he said. “Journalism is every bit a part of SIS as it is in those other schools.”

While studying as an SIS student, Gregory had already begun a firm path toward a journalism career. During the summer of his freshman year, he worked as the Washington correspondent for KGUN-TV in Tucson, Ariz., and his “office” was his dorm room in Letts Hall. Gregory was also the news director of ATV.

Gregory said he was sure his campus experiences would prepare him for his KGUN-TV internship. But when he had technical difficulties shooting video on the Hill, he realized he needed professional assistance.

“They hired a professional crew, and they still paid me,” Gregory said with some surprise.

He credited his success today to his early ambition and aggression. But he said he still knows how to balance assertiveness with manners.

His best advice to aspiring journalists comes from fellow NBC reporter Ted Koppel, who told him to always listen to interviewees.

“When I can relax and just listen to what they’re saying, it’s amazing what I can do, because I can respond, I can catch them if what they’re saying is not true,” Gregory said.

However, he said he still struggles to ask questions during some interviews, particularly with presidents.

“One of the challenges of interviewing Bill Clinton is finding a way to interrupt,” Gregory said.

During a more casual interview, Gregory said he once annoyed former President Clinton while trying to ask a question.

“He shot me this look that said, ‘You speak when I’m done speaking,’” he said.

Gregory also told students to make an impression at their internships, emphasizing the importance of getting to know your employer.

“The onus is on you not to just breathe the air,” Gregory said. “I always say to interns, ‘If I don’t know who you are that’s not my problem. You come up to me and introduce yourself.’”

lgiangreco@theeagleonline.com


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