GREENWICH, Conn. -- The “Meredith Vieira Show” invited Convent of the Sacred Heart’s broadcast journalism classes to be audience members of a live taping Feb. 24. Thirty-eight students from the beginner class, creative class and news show class joined Sacred Heart’s studio director and broadcast journalism teacher, Ellyn Stewart, as they traveled to Rockefeller Center for the taping of the NBC Universal-produced show.
Audience outreach coordinator, Jamie DeLine, contacted Stewart to invite the students. 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. In 1971, Vieira graduated from the Lincoln School, an all-girls’ Quaker school in Providence, R.I. 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,” Vieira said.
Along with hosting the show, 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 Clinton Kelly sat down with Vieira to discuss his personal life.
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,” Sacred Heart senior Ana Schonander said.
Vieira is a 14-time Emmy Award winner. In 2006, she began her term as a co-anchor for “Today,” where she worked for the next five years. She has also worked for ABC, CBS News and NBC.
Today, 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 come and speak with us about the value of journalism and the roles of women in the industry,” junior Quinn Butler said.
Vieira encouraged students to explore different types of journalism. .
“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.
Vieira highlighted good writing as the most important asset for those pursuing a job in journalism.
“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 – journalism and broadcast journalism. Broadcast journalism features three classes, including the beginner class, the creative class, and “Today from the Heart,” a televised news show that can be viewed on YouTube and the school website, www.cshgreenwich.org .
The works of broadcast students have appeared in the Greenwich Film Festival, the Hotchkiss Film Festival, the Greenwich Youth Film Festival and the All-American High School Film Festival.
In 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 Vieira cited as valuable, and learn to adhere to the strong journalistic standards that the industry requires.
“The whole trip itself was very educational. I loved seeing a production behind the scenes. Ms. Vieira gave us 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.
The “Meredith Vieira Show” airs daily on NBC. To watch the episodes featuring the broadcast students in the studio audience, tune in to NBC on April 11 and May 17.
Guice is an editor at Sacred Heart Greenwich Upper School’s award-winning student newspaper, “King Street Chronicle”.
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