NBC News Announces Campaign Embeds For 2024 Election Cycle


NBC News announced the class of nine journalists who will be deployed to cover 2024 presidential candidates and battleground states, tracking every movement of campaigns as the race unfolds.

The embeds, as they are called, serve as the eyes and ears on the ground for the NBCU news platforms, and are expected to do everything from research to shoot b-roll and live events, file digital stories and do on-air reporting.

This cycle’s class of embeds includes Emma Barnett, an associate producer for NBC News Now’s Hallie Jackson Now who previously worked on the Morning News Now team; Sarah Dean, producer for Meet the Press, where she has served as Chuck Todd’s anchor producer for the Sunday broadcast and produces guest interviews and writes the weekly Data Download segment; Nnamdi Egwuonwu, segment producer for MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and previously Zerlina on Peacock; Jillian Frankel, a Washington, D.C.-based associate producer for NBC News who previously worked on NBC News specials in New York, helping to produce coverage of events like the January 6th riot and the Covid pandemic; Alec Hernandez, who has worked in the NBC News New York bureau covering high profile court cases, natural disasters and politics; Greg Hyatt, who has served as producer for the newsgathering and planning team at MSNBC; Katherine Koretski, who has been with the NBC News New York bureau as a field associate producer covering events such as Donald Trump’s arraignment; Alex Tabet, associate producer who helped produce Meet The Cabinet, a series that profiled Biden administration cabinet members, and Around the World Now In 60 Seconds; and Jake Traylor, associate producer at MSNBC, where he has helped producer political segments for MSNBC Reports and PoliticsNation.

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ABC News announced its class of embeds last week.

Carrie Budoff Brown, who was named senior vice president of politics earlier this year, oversees the embed program, in addition to the network’s politics and elections reporting and oversight of Meet the Press.

She said that the embeds “are supplementing a deployment of correspondents in the field.” Embed assignments are still being determined and finalized, with an eye toward being flexible as campaigns and circumstances shift.

Budoff Brown was an embed for Politico during the 2008 cycle, covering Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and said that the long hours meant that she got to come home about once every two weeks.

“The lives of the embeds have been somewhat of a fascination,” she said, citing the classic political book The Boys on the Bus. “You have this front row seat to American politics. Being on a campaign plane with a candidate is a singular kind of experience for a journalist.” She added that the experience “is a grind and it is challenging, but these are coveted positions.”

The embeds go through a month-long training program on writing, camera work, digital reporting and hair and makeup, among other production details. They also meet with network anchors, executives and show lead producers, as they will contribute to NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo Noticias, NBC News Now and NBCNews.com and MSNBC.com.

Budoff Brown also said that the embeds are prepared for “a reality of covering politics these days, for better or worse”: Attacks on the media. She said that the embeds are reminded that the “rules of journalism apply no matter how many barbs you receive.”

There has been enough curiosity about the lives of embeds to inspire a 2017 series, Embeds, which aired on Complex Networks, co-created by two former embeds, Scott Conroy and Peter Hamby.

At NBC News, past embeds have gone on to other high profile roles, including Garrett Haake, Vaughn Hillyard, Monica Alba and Mike Memoli.

Shaq Brewster, who was an embed in the 2016 cycle, was initially assigned to Scott Walker’s presidential campaign and, as the Wisconsin governor’s fortunes plummeted, was moved to Carly Fiorina and then Ben Carson. As the campaign cycle started to shift, Brewster was then assigned to cover former President Bill Clinton, who had enough of a schedule to warrant such intense coverage. Brewster’s final assignment was Donald Trump, with an eye on the protest movements that would turn out at nearly every event.

Brewster said that he gave up his apartment to go on the road, sleeping in a friend’s house or guest rooms or making quick stops at home when he had time off.

He admitted there is a certain monotony to listening to a candidate’s same speech perhaps multiple times per day, but the campaign storylines continue to change, and the embeds also are working for different platforms at the network with a variety of different reporting projects.

Brewster’s advice to embeds? Drink water and stay hydrated, and, “There are things that people can predict. There are things that people expect. But it is your job to be out there and cover what happens.”

An example is Walker’s campaign in 2016, which faltered early on even though he was viewed as a top tier contender.

Brewster added, “Sometimes it is OK to tune out what experts are saying and trust what you are seeing, even if it is the first race you are covering.”

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