From a college radio station to national networks: a conversation with Kate Snow
By: Erica Carbajal
As Senior National Correspondent and anchor of NBC’s “Sunday Nightly News,” Kate Snow is often on-air multiple times a day. Now in the COVID-19 era, Snow reports and anchors from her basement that’s been converted to a temporary news studio set. To this, add raising two kids and a case of the novel virus in her household.
Through all of this, Snow has continued delivering news updates, many related to the way this pandemic has ravaged nursing home centers.
Some of the stories became personal, as Snow found herself giving updates on how her husband, Chris Bro, was fighting a COVID-19 infection, and how her family was navigating this unnerving experience. Fortunately, he’s since fully recovered.
“It’s been a challenge,” Snow said.
Yet, it’s her strong foundation in the field (and now, help with her family at home as camera operators) that’s made it all possible.
As an undergraduate at Cornell University, Snow worked as a radio reporter for a local station, WVBR. After completing her graduate degree in international studies at Georgetown, Snow landed a job as a producer and booker for CNN in Atlanta.
“After doing that behind the scenes job for two years, I really wanted to be a reporter again,” she said. “I sent out about 100 tapes and got three offers.”
Snow ended up taking the offer for her first television news reporting job in Carlsbad, New Mexico at KOAT.
That meant taking chances, a lesson many young reporters sometimes need reminding of.
“I ditched a good life in Atlanta, left a boyfriend and all my friends and moved across the country,” Snow said.
From there, she made her way to the KOAT headquarters in Albuquerque before climbing her way to national network life. Before joining NBC News, Snow reported for ABC’s Good Morning America as a White House reporter.
With this background and having covered a multitude of sensitive issues like suicide and sexual assault, Snow was prepared to cover another problem a lifetime—coronavirus, even if she didn’t know it.
Adapting to remote video reporting even has its positives, helping to foster a more natural feeling interview, Snow said.
“Doing interviews by Zoom or Skype took some getting used to, but I appreciate that it’s a direct conversation and without a camera crew, lights and huge set-up,” she said. “Sometimes the conversations feel even more personal and authentic.”
COVID-19 has been a difficult thing to grapple with, and Snow reiterated part of what it means to be a journalist amid times of crisis, even if you, the reporter, are feeling new levels of anxiety.
“I’ve certainly said many times, to grieving families that what is most important is that they control their own story,” Snow said. “We are providing an outlet right now for people to remember and honor lives lost.”
In 2018, Snow had the first interview with Andrea Constant after Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexually assaulting her. Earlier in 2015, she interviewed 27 of Cosby’s accusers in a hotel ballroom.
“It took a lot of work to study all of their individual stories, understand the context, see patterns between their stories and reach out for Cosby’s response to each of them,” Snow said. “I was armed with a lot of information and research prior to sitting down.”
Whether she’s covering sexual assault or COVID-19, Snow said there are parallels in all stories.
“I’m a bit of a type-A preparation freak,” she said. “I always want to study and read a ton of background before any project, the same goes for this pandemic.”
Snow has covered and continues to cover many peoples’ stories. Perhaps all because she took that chance and moved across the country.
“It was one of the best decisions I ever made.”