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MSNBC Adjusts to NBC News Headquarters

Oct 29, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The color of the wall is an immediate clue to news mode in the atrium-like MSNBC studio area in the new NBC News headquarters, built to house the cable news network, the WNBC-TV local news and NBC News operations in state-of-the-all-digital-art efficiency.
The walls are peaceful grayish blue during a routine news spell and deep red when it’s breaking news.
The shakedown week in the new facilities started Oct. 22 with red-letter days dominated by the Santa Ana wind-driven fires scorching Southern California.
“We gunned it. We had the pedal to the metal the first day because we had to,” said Phil Griffin, the senior VP of NBC News who is the executive in charge of MSNBC.
The week wasn’t without its harrowing moments.
A heroic last-second scramble by button-pushing, switch-flipping tech and engineering patch wizards allowed viewers to see and hear “Hardball With Chris Matthews” coming out of Washington, D.C., and through the brand-new high-def control room on the second floor at 30 Rock.
The control room facilities in the original MSNBC headquarters in Secaucus, N.J., were not shut down until the day before the network’s point of origin changed to NBC Universal headquarters at 30 Rock in midtown Manhattan. That followed test after test after test of the new control rooms—and a last extra test of connecting to MSNBC’s master control equipment, which is still in Secaucus but destined to move up the road to CNBC facilities in Englewood Cliffs.
There still are some of the dozens of monitors on the walls of the third floor—divided largely between “NBC Nightly News’” open work space and studio, the net desk (through which all video and text flows much of the day behind MSNBC anchors at work) and MSNBC’s work space and studio—that aren’t carrying live feeds as intended, but Mr. Griffin wasn’t sweating that.
He was proud that “as complicated a system as there is,” planned and executed in about six months, had performed as it was supposed to.
He was almost giddy as he described the palpable buzz and morale boost generated by the knowledge that “there’s actual television going on 24 hours a day” in the news space at the heart of the network’s headquarters building.
On Day 1, “Nightly” welcomed the MSNBC staffers with a lunch catered by a high-end sandwich shop.
“Just having our net desk back here in the center of things, not a telephone call away in Secaucus, which might as well be Paris—I mean that in distance, not in culture—means people are going down there,” Mr. Griffin said. “There has been this influx of people and movement going back and forth through the studios because, ‘Hey, how are we going to cover this? Can we get Brian [Williams] out there? Can we get Matt [Lauer] out there? The big news story has heightened the fact that we’re all here working together in ways that was not forced upon us but happened naturally, happened organically.
“Our dreams came true, I would say, better than we thought,” he said.

65 Comments

  1. My wife and I are deeply involved in the mentally handicapped at the woodbine N.J. state institution. Our son with 600 others are clients of the state and my wife is the president of the parents assn. I would appreciate a copy of the horrible facility of Serbia as aired on 11/14/07 on the Bryan Williams telecast.Please ! please !put me in touch with the Lady interviewer if possible m. I can assure you that our intentions are most honorabl and intended for the betterment of these special people if only in the realization of our blessings ,and intintion to ,somehow aid those less fortunate in Serbia Thanks and god Bless .. Jim Thomas 301 no annapolis ave , Atlantic City N.J. 08401 telephone 609 345 1362 .. pager 1 800 797 0992

  2. Dear CEO of NBC,
    My husband and I would like to commend both Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann for their superior reporting and analysis of current events,including presidential campaign coverage. They are intelligent, extremely informed and know the history of this country and the world. They are candid and their views are quite refreshing.
    Please keep them on the air and do not bend to pressures from politicians who frankly don’t have any sense and knowledge of what this country needs at this time. At this rate, we will continue to go backward instead of forward.
    Please note that my husband I have have the highest regard for Matthews and Olbermann. Marlene Tuttle

  3. It is really shocking how much hate is being directed against women by your company in all of your shows especially against the person of Sarah Palin.
    I am really sorry to see it.

  4. My name is Eileen O’Connor, and I’m an outraged small business owner. Tomorrow, our government will give GM another 4 billion dollars!!!My company which specializes in smoking cessaton and weight loss, a huge problem for our country, gets zero.
    This is outrageous!! This is a job for Keith!!
    I love Countdown, and it should be a law that everyone should watch the show. Please, Keith,Please find this email and have me on your show. I would be a great interview, and you would help me on my journey to save the world one smoker at a time.
    If you save just one life, you save the world! Think of all the lives and minds you have saved already.. Call me Keith, Call me. (917)687 4706!!
    Eileen O’Connor

  5. Hi. My parents are very interested in writting to Kieth Olbermann, but they don’t have a computer or computer experience. Would someone e-mail me the physical address so that my parents can write to him? Your help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Christine Schulhoff

  6. Right on with Rachael Maddow, Keith Obermann, Ed Schultz, and Lawrence O’Donnell in their tough approach to dealing with the right wing wackos and wingnuts, including the Blue-Tick Corpricans, in their fight to bring a public health insurance program to America. Continue to expose the right-wing bought and paid for republicans for the hypocrites they are regardless the particular issue. Pour it on also on Rushbo,the pill-poppin’ buffoon, Lou Dobbs the pro-birther and anti-Hispanic racist from the Completely Neutered Network, and all the biased charlatans from the Fascist Nuisance Network.
    Keep up the good work,
    Jim Schmitz
    Rock Hill, South Carolina, home of Mr. Soul Mate Mark Sanford and Mr. Waterloo, Jim DeMint

  7. you call yourself journalists? why arent you covering the ACORN
    expose stories by james o’keefe and hanah gilles???

  8. Morning Joe is the best program on msnbc,but why is it only on at 3AM on the west coast and 4AM in the mountain time zone? You run a delay tape of all the shows starting with Chris Mathews
    (twice in a 3 hour period?!! Why can’t you run a tape of Morning Joe that airs at 6AM pacific time? Most of your other daytime shows are really just filler types anyway. PLEASE GIVE US A BREAK1

  9. The Wizards just won the John Wall sweepstakes,beat the Philadelphia 76ers and the nets

  10. Good post, thanks

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  13. I am aloyalMSNBC viewerMonday to Friday.However you are seriously missing the boat when you don’t have weekend programs to comppete with withFoX and CNN.NO MORE JAIL STUFF.I have heard people calling to progressive radio shows saying the same thing. Work around the sport programing and find the place that could be workable.Antoinette Morris

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  15. Intense? Lindsay Lohan won’t know the 50 % of it. I like to recommend for her an institution termed Palmer Drug use Program. They might be able to support her.

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  18. WHERE THE HELL IS KEITH OLBERMAN TONIGht??…??????
    ONLY PROGRAM WORTH WATCHING ON t.v.

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