Simpson students assist NBC


Photo by Liv Allen

by Taylor Williams, News Editor

Nineteen Simpson students and alumni had the opportunity to work with NBC News in preparation for the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucus.

Abby Ludwig, Lizzy Adams, Ava Shannon, Baillee Furst, Katie Cardoza, Diana Saagstizado, Erin Magoffie, Ethan Humble, Jackson Reuter, Kathryn Hays, Kimberly Roberts, Madison DePover, Morgan Flynn, Noah Sacco, Olivia Allen, Paul Hyatt, Quinn Slaven, Taylor Hoffman and Taylor Williams all worked with NBC in time for the caucus. 

Senior public relations major Baillee Furst said working with NBC was her first time working with a news organization.

“I was definitely a little nervous. But once I figured out where I was going, who I was supposed to be in contact with and what type of work I was assigned to do, things got a little less scary,” Furst said.

NBC News reached out to Simpson professors over winter break in search of runners to help with the caucuses. Most participants are studying political science and/or communications. 

In television production, a runner does a variety of oddball jobs while working with different NBC employees, ranging from producers to political coverage directors. Not all jobs were as exciting as others. Some students spent their day handing out credentials, some organized office supplies and others made multiple phone calls. 

I did a lot of general prep. This included picking up packages, grocery store runs and some clerical work,” senior Noah Sacco said.

Furst had a different experience. 

“On Saturday, I handed out credentials and helped with the production of a special segment of AM Joy (it was at night instead of in the morning.) This included framing photos to be used on set, crowd control for the live audience and other miscellaneous tasks,” she explained. “On Monday, I helped on the set of Morning Joe. This was a much bigger production, with more structure and security. At this, I helped with crowd control for the live audience, filled drink and food orders for the show’s stars and did other miscellaneous tasks as they came up.”

Students worked from sunrise to nightfall, some even working as late as 5 a.m. They may have had some downtime here and there the first few days, but after the first day, it was full speed ahead. 

Senior Erin Magoffie said she worked on Saturday and put in hours on Monday, the night of the Iowa Democratic caucuses. 

I worked 8 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at Java Joe’s and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Monday at the Iowa Events Center,” Magoffie said. “At both places, I was a right hand to the producers and directors. I did whatever they needed.”

NBC Producer Dylan Van Arsdale said last year NBC reached out to Drake University for runners but the institution was slow to respond — making more opportunities for Simpson. 

“It was definitely interesting and different than anything I’ve ever done in the past. Television production is quick-paced and has a very strict routine, which makes complete sense since most of the crew is working together every day year-round,” Furst said. “It was cool to see this work and interesting to be a small part of it. It was also cool that I got to meet so many inspirational journalists, like the cast of Morning Joe and AM Joy, as well as Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Dr. Jill Biden and Symone Sanders.”

Whether students were printing the daily agenda or helping organize audience members for the Today show, they were all just grateful for the opportunity to work with the network. They enjoyed it, and many said they would do it again. 

Furst said she would do it again,“but I might avoid the early morning shift next time.”