The Daily Nightly from NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams

About this blog

The Daily Nightly began on May 31, 2005. As Brian wrote in his first post it aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News. Brian weighs in every weekday and NBC News correspondents and producers post regularly.

Brian Williams became the seventh anchor and managing editor in the history of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004. Read his full biography.

AT THE TOP

A number of stories vying for lead story status at this hour, following our afternoon editorial meeting.  There's the mental health status report regarding the U.S. Military, our own GOP debate last night, the aftermath in Los Angeles (the lawsuits are starting) and the visit of Her Majesty the Queen.  We have some very impactful reporting tonight -- Dawn Fratangelo and producer Julie Holstein have teamed up on a very important, emotional story on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from this nation's wars -- this particular kind has nothing to do with combat stress, per se, but is every bit as important.

An intense storm system briefly turned day into night in New Orleans today -- CNN aired live pictures at midafternoon showing lights on in the darkness, and their anchor later reported what their New Orleans bureau confirmed: that's the way it indeed looked.

Its Friday night, so we'll have our usual Making A Difference report -- tonight, Roger O'Neil will profile the doctor many came to know during the Barbaro saga.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...

While the world may little note, nor long remember what was said on stage last night at the GOP Debate in Simi Valley, we can never forget what they did there.  Some greatest hits according to people I've spoken with:

Longest-lasting quote: "Gates of hell" by John McCain.  Followed by the smile. We'll be hearing...and seeing that again for a long time to come.

Killer Final Exam Extra Credit Question: Sunni vs. Shiite, to Giuliani.  Show of hands: how many others on that stage could have answered that?

Highest pedometer reading of the night: John Harris of The Politico.

Best live blog: Ana Marie Cox

Fastest jump off the stage: Mitt Romney. In order to be the first candidate pictured, post-debate, shaking Nancy Reagan's hand, Romney risked almost certain injury...displaying jumping skills in a way Americans haven't seen since one night when "My American Cousin" was playing at Ford's Theatre in the 1860s.

WE'RE LEAVING HOME...BYE BYE

I recommend the video blog done this morning by the Director of Nightly News, Brett Holey. The time has come to leave our longtime home on the third floor of 30 Rock.  A camera crew just came to take pictures of me in my box-filled office, typing this post. My assistant Melissa is working on Saturday to finish the packing, which should finally qualify her for NBC Sainthood (in addition to the average day spent with me). Tonight on the broadcast, we will also say goodbye to our on-air news set, with a quick review of the television history that has played out in that room -- and a look back at the "look" of Nightly News over the years.  We have been in Studio 3C since 1999.  We're headed to a temporary home, the beautiful studio 8-G -- a problem for me only because my veteran floor crew of stagehands will stay here.  I'm quite sure I'll make new friends out of my new co-workers, however.  I'm literally taking the anchor desk upstairs with me -- since its still better than anything we have.  After a stint in 8G, we'll return to an immense and new studio and newsroom complex.

As you may recall -- I've asked the staff, after days of cleaning and boxing and stacking, to save for this space their best and favorite "found" item.  There are some gems.  And with the usual request that you join us for Nightly News tonight -- and our usual wish that you all have a good weekend -- we'll leave you with the collected artifacts of our gang -- the detritus of our third floor, rabbit warren of offices -- together, it all tells the story of NBC Nightly News, for better or worse.

RELICS OF AN ERA:

Reflections of the boss
While packing up my office, I happened upon one of the many supportive notes the anchor has sent to me over the last two years, as well as a very special little Christmas ornament that no one in this building will confess to creating.

Subrata De, Anchor Producer

Found_note_from_brian

Brian_williams_christmas_ornament

Various and sundry items
Packed up all my "team photos" from remotes from around the world...and the giant Saddam Hussein picture that Kevin Tibbles gave me back in 1998...but along the way I found:

* F.W. deKlerk and Nelson Mandela "salt and pepper" shakers. They were given to me while covering the Mandela election in April 1995. Our production manager, Maralyn Gelefsky wanted the Mandela shaker but I told her they only go as a set.

* A tape of the first story I ever produced for Nightly News: "Truck Safety". My correspondent was Brian Ross, now of ABC, and it was so long ago I hope we can find a machine to transfer "three-quarter inch" tape!

* A January, 1999 memo from our Investigative Producer Bob Windrem quoting his intelligence sources as saying "Bin Laden is full-tilt coming at us..and as hard as he can." The memo also goes on to quote the sources as saying "There is no evidence of a link between Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein."

M.L. Flynn, Senior Foreign Producer

Care for a cookie?
I found the research for my first story as a producer for NBC, a collection of ratty papers and secret documents on corruption in the American labor movement, which ran in 1980...and a Ronald McDonald cookie jar.

Robert Windrem, Senior Investigative Producer

Now THIS is kitsch
Kitsch_001_4Raised by a family who LOVES their kitsch,  I am also a terrible pack-rat… not a good quality for someone living in a New York City apartment.  Tucked in a dusty corner of my office, I have found this priceless bit of my own personal NBC history. Priceless in terms of KITSCHINESS, not in terms of cash unfortunately.

It was given to me by an enterprising "voter" on one of many bus trips through the 62 counties of New York State with Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate Campaign.  It may not quite be an "I Like Ike" button, but it does make me wonder what they are going to come up with for her Presidential Run.

Felicia Patinkin, Producer

Icons of journalism
It was July of 1980 and the Republicans were meeting in Detroit's Joe Lewis Arena to pick their nominee for president. I was a researcher charged with putting together a chart for our reporters showing the seating plan of the delegates with the position of our cameras.  The reporters who worked the floor interviewing delegates would tell the control room when they had a good interview and we would put them on the air.  I devised a clip board with their intials in big yellow letters on the back, and their producers would wave it in the air to camera operators searching to find them among the sea of people.

It was a memorable convention for NBC. Ronald Reagan was getting his party's nomination and many were convinced that Gerald Ford would be his choice for Vice President. Some delegates were wearing Reagan Ford buttons. Dan Rather went on the air for CBS and reported it was a done deal. But NBC held back until late in the evening. I will never forget the screaming words of Chris Wallace (now of Fox) into our control room, "It's Bush, it's Bush, it's Bush".  Our camera person raced to find that big yellow "W" his producer was frantically waving and he and NBC were first to report the new Reagan-Bush ticket.

So, here is my relic offering: At the end of the week, I asked  all of the people I had worked with that week to sign my chart.  Only a few of us still work for NBC, many have since died,  but the signatures read like a who's who of network television:  John Chancellor, David Brinkley, Tom Brokaw, Garrick Utley, Tom Pettit, Chris Wallace, Judy Woodruff, Jessica Savitch and the political historian Theodore White.

Anne Binford, Tape Producer

A treasure trove of stuff
Let me first say that I am a neat freak so my desk was clean and easy to pack into one box. The rest of the office, however, was the complete opposite.  Traveling into the time-frozen, untouched areas of the NBC Nightly News office space was quite an adventure.  In one storage area I found some great sports memorabilia, including framed 1996 World Series tickets and an autographed photo of Joe DiMaggio. In addition to going through storage spaces I also got tasked with packing up all of the photos and awards in our common office space.  Among them, pictures of past presidents, framed magazine and newspaper covers, and an enormous beautifully framed poster of the 343 members of the FDNY that were lost on 9-11, which we took extra care of. If you watched Brian's vlog the other day, then you know our halls are lined with overflowing boxes, huge moveable trash carts, and enormous rolls of bubble wrap that I had the pleasure of dragging around the office.  Today, there is a feeling in the air that the end is near.  The past few weeks have been exhausting and drawn out but our temporary space is new, bright, and open. I think we are all looking forward to getting settled in.

Daniel Linden, Desk Assistant

No further explanation required Img_2107

Yes, it's a picture of a picture of Macaulay Culkin hamming at the White House with Producer Donna Bass.

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COMMENTS

Is there any chance I can get hold of a photo of the F.W. deKlerk and Nelson Mandela "salt and pepper" shakers mentioned on your homepage. We had a set but I got rid of them not realising that my wife desperately needs a picture of them for a school text book she is writing.

You're the only guy who can get a whole new studio for his birthday! Hope you had a great birthday weekend!

Back in the late 70'sm, I was thrilled to be among a dozen small-market anchors dispatched to 30 Rock for local promos with John Chancellor. It had to be tedious. When he learned I was expected back on-air in Omaha that evening, he summoned his limo to spirit me to LaGuardia, arranged for me to use his office and moved me to the front of the line.

I'll never forget that kindness.

You have such strong feelings for Americans. I remember and admire your tenacity to keep reporting on Katrina victims. I know you'll do the same for our soldiers returning from Iraq and other wars. My partner was one of the first Seal Team members to Vietnam and much of his life is spent coping with PTSA and his memories. I hope you will continue to feature the difficulties people face, but also our impact on the world around us. We both so appreciated the program gave last night on the tragic death of our marine mammals from domoic acid poisoning in Laguna. Like so many others, this is preventable through the elimination of urban runoff.
We'll keep watching!

Have a Happy Birthday Brian! Hope you have a great weekend!

Yeu Nguyen

I'm sure the reason PTSD is so prevalent w/ Iraqi soldiers is because of the impossible situation they're in there. They're basically "walking targets", since our Echelons in Iraq are TOO SMALL & under - funded ( Most of that money going to Halliburton, to re - build Iraq's Oil industry ! ). They're also still being trained 'like monkeys'; using techniques biased towards outdated tradition & values, no longer reflecting reality. This would also explain why sexism against women is still rampant. Generalsa & Admirals don't understand this because they've been in - service too long & now think like Politicians ! P.S.: I'm sure many people whom were in N.Y. City, during 9/11, have PTSD symptoms - even today.

Interesting report on the problems of sexual assualt survivors in the military. I've not been in the military, but being a rape survivor myself, I know its long-lasting repercussions.

Happy Birthday, Brian!

I must preface this post by stating that its intent is in no way meant to minimalize the horrors faced by female soldiers. Sexual abuse has been occurring for eons. However, as an incest survivor whose PTSD has necessitated being on disability, I take great issue with NBC's apparent slant that PTSD is exclusive to military personnel. There are millions of civilian PTSD diagnosed who would certainly beg to differ.

Have a wonderful birthday Mr.Williams!! Celebrate this weekend! Happy Birthday!!

Good Evening Mr. Williams, I enjoyed Brett Holey's vlog showing the hallways and offices of NBC Nightly News. I especially enjoyed seeing the Nightly News studio. I was thinking of all the great journalists that have sat in that studio and all the events that have been covered. It was interesting to read about all the things your colleagues have collected through the years. Some are real treasures. I hope someday Mr. Williams that during your time as Managing Editor and Anchor of Nightly News that peace befalls the troubled region of the Middle East and the troops finally come home. I truly hope you are able to broadcast that event along with the fine journalists of NBC that have covered this war. That Mr. Williams would be something to treasure. Peace to all the military! Peace to the journalists! Peace to all!

Thank you for your segment on members of the military suffering from PTSD after sexual assault. While I am thankful that you are drawing attention this important issue, it seems that your reporting can go a step further in supporting both female and male military survivors of sexual assault. In future reporting, I hope you will not refer to their sexual assaults as “alleged”. Would you ever refer to soldier as being "allegedly" wounded by gunfire during combat? What about referring to a solider as an "alleged" witness to his platoon being wiped out by a roadside IED? The women and men in our armed forces experience and witness horrible events during the course of their service. These women in your news segment were brave enough to report their assaults and to seek help from medical and mental health professionals who diagnosed them with PTSD. If there is a diagnosis, give them the benefit of the doubt that something actually happened. Please show them the respect they deserve along side their fellow soldiers suffering from combat-related PTSD by taking their word and acknowledging what they experienced was in fact real.

I am 70% disabled from Vietnam (gunshot wound;malaria; PTSD). I was too ashamed to "see" a psychiatrist in 1968, when I filed for the permanent injuries of the gunshot wound and malaria. I finally got compensation for PTSD in 1998. I had the good fortune to have also come in under the radar with a psychiatrist and psychologist. I have several layers of PTSD, two of which are family of origin related.
Until 1989, I didn't even know I had PTSD. I was a spooky dude when I lived in the Pacific Northwest. Not knowing I had PTSD, I constantly reacted to the densely forested, very rained on forests. I felt like I was crazy most of the time; developed alcohol and drug addiction. I used for 21 years and now have nearly 25 years of recovery.
I came out against the Vietnam even though I volunteered for combat duty, and even more, when there. I spoke out, in writing, in the summer of 1967, one of the first Vietnam Veterans Against The War. I opposed this war before it even began, until the treatment of John Kerry left me so depressed I contemplated suicide by setting myself on fire.
The other day, seeing the President, His Highness, King George II, the Commander Guy, the Decider, talk about "no strings attached to the supplemental spending bill" I felt like killing myself again, albeit, briefly.
PTSD has never gone away. I told my wife (my third) that in this war, "we will begin to see severe PTSD symptoms, because of the multiple tours and prolonged tours, and, we will see an entirely new cadre of WOMEN PTSD victims.
Alcoholism, drug addiction, emotional distancing, psychic numbness, and abuse and neglect issues with children will cascade down from these women, as they have from men, for centuries. I hope and pray you will seek help immediately.
When I was discharged in 1968, after three years in South Korea, Vietnam, and Japan ... and years before PTSD was diagnosed. Many of my friends were rejected for YEARS by the VA. Do not hesitate. Apply.
And know that there are now several million Americans with this problem. It won't get better. It will only get worse if you fail to get help.

John McCain looked like he forced himself to appear angry the whole time. The fact that he smiled after making such a "gates of hell" statement just shows he was playing it up. Also of subtle but important note is that a "clearing-your-throat" sound is a way humans and men especially try to establish "dominance" in a crowd. I trained eight years in the martial arts in class environments loaded with ego and I know it all to well. I believe he was deliberately doing that as well.

That studio has served you and your viewers well over the years. I'm glad you turned moving into something humorous. I'm guessing it was exhausting and stressful, too. We'll look forward to seing you Monday from somewhere else!

C'mon Brian, Mitt Romney as John Wilkes Booth? I don't think so. Booth was a much better actor, and Romney has rarely handled a gun despite what he says about his long history of hunting.

That Hillary ("always a Yankees' fan") doormat looks like something that would sell like hotcakes in Republican enclaves of Red Sox nation.

About the debate, did Guiliani really think that 9/11 was the start of multiple terrorist attacks? Did he think there were aircraft carriers full of terrorists off our shores ready to launch wave after wave of attacks? Or like Mr. Bush, did he think that Iraqi cropdusters could fly halfway around the world? And why does he and McCain and the rest of them think that in the face of what everyone agrees is an "unconventional" threat, the proper response was to launch a second conventional war on a country that had nothing to do with terrorism, Iraq?

I tell you, it's the Republicans that "don't understand the nature of the threat." If you don;t believe it, then explain to me why there's enough money to wage a trillion dollar war on Iraq but not enough money to inspect every shipping container entering the US.

Since I first watched NN on September 11, hosted by Tom Brokaw, I can remember the studio as a place where I got American news of a state-of-the-art style. The studio, in comparison to German news studios on TV, had a supreme technology and had a great integrity into the newscast. I will surely miss it. Congratulations America, for existing now 400 years as a modern and forthcoming nation founded by Britains as well as Germans over the last centuries.

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