Behind the scenes with Meredith Vieira


The Meredith Vieira Show invited Convent of the Sacred Heart’s Broadcast Journalism classes to be audience members of a live taping February 24. Thirty-eight students from the beginner class, creative class and news show class joined Broadcast Journalism Studio Director and Broadcast Journalism Teacher Ms. Ellyn Stewart, Broadcast Studio Technical Support Staff Mr. David Pisani, Mrs. Shari Pisani and Upper School Science Teacher Ms. Mary Musolino as they traveled to Rockefeller Center for the taping of the NBCUniversal produced show.
Audience Outreach Coordinator for the Meredith Vieira Show Ms. Jamie DeLine contacted Ms. Stewart to invite her and her students to a live taping of the show. Ms. Meredith Vieira, a product of a single-sex high school education, looks for schools in the area who share the same philosophy to be part of the show’s audience. 

Broadcast Journalism Students participate in activities on set during filming breaks.
Broadcast Journalism Students participate in activities on set during filming breaks. Courtesy of Ms. Ellyn Stewart

In 1971, Ms. Vieira graduated from the Lincoln School, an all-girls’ Quaker school in Providence, Rhode Island. She then attended Tufts University in Massachusetts where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. 
“A single-sex school had a great impact on who I am. It was about what we were doing with our heads, not what we were wearing on our bodies. We were encouraged to be loud in class, debate was a good thing, and all of it made me feel like the strongest person in the world,” Ms. Vieira said. 
Along with hosting the show, Ms. Vieira works as an executive producer.
Students witnessed the filming of a few segments of the talk show including “What’s Hot Now.” The portion consisted of a panel of celebrity guest stars including Lance Bass, Yamaneika Saunders, Lilliana Vazquez, and Megan Colarossi who discussed pop culture and trending stories. Guest star Clinton Kelly, most notable as the host of The Chew and What Not to Wear, sat down with Ms. Vieira to discuss his personal life. 
Ms. Vieira began her career as a news announcer for WORC radio in 1975. 
“I thought what Ms. Vieira said about starting in radio was important because as someone who intends to study communications, and currently has an internship in radio, I was fascinated to hear her successful career began as a news announcer,” senior Ana Schonander said.
Meredith Vieira speaks with Broadcast Journalism students on the importance of women in the journalism industry.
Meredith Vieira speaks with Broadcast Journalism students on the importance of women in the journalism industry.  Courtesy of Ms. Ellyn Stewart

Mrs. Vieira is a 14-time Emmy Award winner. In 2006, Mrs. Vieira began her term as a co-anchor for Today, where she worked for the next five years. She has also worked for Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) News, American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and National Broadcasting Company (NBC). She is known for being the first woman to anchor NBC’s primetime coverage of the Olympic Games for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.  
Today, Ms. Vieira spends her time working on the preparation and production of her show, along with mentoring employees and interns. She is involved with multiple charities including the New York chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Alzheimer’s Association, Children’s Miracle Network, Clown Car, and the Pajama Program. 
“We were fortunate enough, to our surprise, to have Meredith herself come and speak with us about the value of journalism and the roles of women in the industry,” junior Quinn Butler said.
Ms. Vieira encouraged students interested in the field to explore the different types of journalism. She also shared how she was able to reinvent herself in the world of broadcast.
“Ms. Viera was so kind and down to earth. She took a lot of time to speak to us and answer all of our questions including what her daily life was like. We learned that it takes lots of time for her to prepare for each show and her day begins at 6 a.m.,” sophomore Kathryn Goodfriend said. 
Ms. Vieira highlighted the value of good writing as the most important asset for those pursuing a job in journalism. She noted that this skill has carried her through her different career paths. 
“Ms. Vieira really encouraged those who are interested in journalism to take initiative. She encouraged us to write her a letter, or call her assistant if we are interested in pursuing the field,” junior Maggie Davis said.
Sacred Heart offers two distinct journalism programs as electives. Broadcast Journalism is made up of three journalism classes including the beginner class, the creative class, and “Today From the Heart.” The beginner class learns the fundamentals of making a range of videos such as public service announcements (PSA), documentaries, and news segments. The more advanced creative class focuses on creating stylistic pieces that range from animation to experimental. The “Today from the Heart” class focuses on creating short and interesting news clips for the school’s news show. Students from all classes earn recognition for their exceptional efforts in broadcast journalism. The works of Broadcast students appear frequently in film festivals including the Greenwich Film Festival, the Hotchkiss Film Festival, the Greenwich Youth Film Festival and the All-American High School Film Festival.
In the Journalism class, students write for the award-winning school newspaper the King Street Chronicle. In this class, student journalists strive to achieve the standards that Ms. Vieira cited as valuable, and learn to adhere to the strong journalistic standards that the industry, particularly the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, requires.
“The whole trip itself was very educational. I loved seeing a production behind the scenes. Ms. Vieira gave us really inspiring words of wisdom about her experiences as a woman in the industry. As a groundbreaker for women in the industry, Ms. Vieira had to work ten times harder to prove herself because of her gender,” senior Aggie Ryan said.

NBC Universal Domestic TV Distribution produces and distributes the show. The Meredith Vieira Show airs daily on NBC. To watch the episodes featuring the broadcast students in the studio audience, tune in to NBC April 11 and May 17.
– Juliette Guice, Co-Photo Editor and Co-Video Content Editor