From NDP and MSU to NBC

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Notre Dame alum and news junkie gets key position on TODAY Show staff.

When 2012 Notre Dame alum Micaela Colonna was growing up, the television at home was usually tuned in to NBC, including news shows and regular programming. She said that as soon as she was old enough to actually understand the concept of news, she knew she'd one day work in the business. Now, nearly six years after graduating from Notre Dame Prep and a degree in journalism from Michigan State University, she is in fact working in the news business — for NBC, no less — and specifically on the network's TODAY Show.

"My family was an NBC family, and I grew up watching TODAY every morning during breakfast and NBC Nightly News every evening during dinner," she said. "So needless to say, it feels like an absolute dream to be in the position I'm in now, working right alongside the correspondents that I've admired for so many years."

As a researcher for TODAY working in NBC's Washington, DC, office, among Colonna's daily assignments is to assist on spots (segments) that air on the show each morning. She is responsible for gathering elements and helping to create a comprehensive research packet consisting of all the material that the NBC  correspondent and producer will need to write and edit the spot. The spots could be politically based, including the White House, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, the State Department, etc., or they could consist of anything else non-DC related, just depending on the day. 

"The material I gather for these segments typically includes the most recent videos or photos relating to the subject, interview transcriptions of politicians or other industry analysts, social-media posts from politicians, governmental agencies, etc.," she said. "I also assist on DC live shots in the mornings, book crews for our correspondents' live shots, and sometimes cut spots myself for the show in the edit room."

Colonna said that her tenure at NBC actually began while still a student at MSU.

"I interned for NBC three times while in college, both in New York City and Washington, DC," she said. "First, I interned with TODAY up in NYC over a summer. The next spring, I traveled down to DC for a semester away at MSU where I interned in the Washington bureau for longtime correspondent and anchor Andrea Mitchell. The following summer, I headed back up to NYC to intern for Tom Brokaw."

Colonna's internship with Mitchell actually was during the most recent presidential campaign season, and she had the opportunity to travel with her to New York on the day of a Democratic debate in Brooklyn. 

"My internship with Tom Brokaw also was during the campaign season, and I attended the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia with him and his producing team," she said. "In addition, at TODAY, I was able to work with a variety of their anchors and correspondents on different shoots and segments and recently went on a shoot with Lester Holt and the DC producing team for NBC Nightly News at Arlington National Cemetery here in Washington, DC."

While it appears Colonna's "beat" primarily revolves around politics, she does get to work on stories that don't involve the government. 

While working as a production assistant for NBC Nightly News in Washington, DC, this past fall, Colonna pitched a story to the nightly broadcast team about an 81-year-old flight attendant named Bette Nash, who has been serving on what is now American Airlines for 60 years and currently is the oldest active flight attendant in the world. 

"I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the shoot, where the whole team — our correspondent, producer, camera crew and myself — flew to Boston and back in one morning, interviewing Bette on the plane and seeing her interact with her customers," Colonna said. "Once we returned to DC, I helped transcribe the interviews and assisted the producer and the editor in piecing the spot together. One day later, it was the closing story on NBC Nightly News. It is to date my biggest and most exciting accomplishment!"

As for what the future holds for this still-young and successful journalist, she says it really doesn't matter, as long as she gets to work own the news business.

"I think about my future a lot, and I find it so interesting that so many successful news producers had completely different paths to get to where they are today," she said. "I think ultimately I would love to be a senior producer or executive producer for a show like TODAY or Nightly News. But in the meantime, I'm excited to continue to work my way down my own path, field-producing, cutting spots in the edit room, and maybe even producing for a specific beat like the White House, Capitol Hill, etc. I would also like to be involved in some way during the next presidential campaign season in 2020, if possible."


Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org.

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