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NBC News, MSNBC, kick off ‘Decision 2004’

NBC News President Neal Shapiro announced today several new political coverage initiatives as NBC News, MSNBC and kick off their wide-ranging plan for “Decision 2004” coverage. Click here to read more on the launch of MSNBC’s campaign embeds, a new electronic newsletter, “First Read,” and a nationally-televised live debate on CNBC moderated by Brian Williams.

NBC News President Neal Shapiro announced today several new political coverage initiatives as NBC News, MSNBC and kick off their wide-ranging plan for “Decision 2004” coverage. Said Shapiro, “Political coverage is one of the most important challenges facing any news division and NBC News is determined to meet that challenge and provide complete and incisive coverage.”


The first initiative launched today is MSNBC’s “campaign embed” program, modeled on the embedded journalists during the war with Iraq. Beginning this summer and reaching full strength as the campaigns swing into high gear, MSNBC will field a team of dedicated video-journalists, each of whom will serve as reporter, producer and cameraperson. Each “campaign embed” will become immersed in the policies, strategies and the personality of a single candidate and will follow the campaigns, including behind-the-scenes coverage, on an exclusive basis. Reports from MSNBC’s “campaign embeds” will be an on-going campaign coverage feature on all NBC properties, including the network, cable, radio and the Web.

Said Erik Sorenson, President of MSNBC, “Our audience understands, after the war with Iraq, that you get a different kind of coverage - a more intimate kind of access - when journalists spend every possible moment following their subject, and stick with the story day-in and day-out over a long period. That is why MSNBC is making a serious commitment, early in the election cycle to follow the campaigns from the ground up.”

In addition, and as part of its efforts to be the first with in-depth reports and analysis of “Decision 2004,” MSNBC is already providing live coverage, with correspondents John Elliott and David Shuster reporting from the battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively. Elliott and Shuster will focus on the states’ residents and their place in history every four years, in addition to covering the Democratic Presidential candidates and their visits to those states.


Also part of its “Decision 2004” coverage is NBC’s new on-line political newsletter, “First Read” which NBC News and launched July 1. “First Read,” is a “must read” morning briefing on political news prepared by NBC News’ political director Elizabeth Wilner and the staff of the NBC News political unit. “First Read” is an online version of the unit’s internal briefing note, prepared early each morning to guide NBC’s producers, reporters and editors as they plan the day’s political coverage. It is a concise and timely summary of the latest political news along with a constantly updated schedule of political events and exclusive analysis from the NBC News political team. “We hope people who work in politics and Americans who are interested in politics, will make it their first stop every morning,” said Wilner.

“First Read” is available free of charge on the website every morning at

“ is the Web site of choice for the latest in political news; ‘First Read’ offers readers behind the scenes coverage on the campaign trail,” said Dean Wright, Editor in Chief. “Along with the powerful network of news gathering partners including NBC, MSNBC, Newsweek and the Washington Post, provides a never before seen insider’s look at campaign politics.” Wright also noted that Tom Curry,’s national affairs correspondent, has recently been relocated to Washington, D.C. to cover politics for “Decision 2004.”


As previously announced, CNBC and The Wall Street Journal will co-host a live, nationally televised debate among the nine Democratic candidates for President on Thursday, September 25, 2003 at 4:00 p.m. Airing live on CNBC from the financial district in New York City moments after the closing bell rings at the New York Stock Exchange, the “CNBC/Wall Street Journal Presidential Debate” will focus on the state of the economy and other key financial issues facing Americans today. Produced by NBC News, the debate will be moderated by Brian Williams, and will include panelists from CNBC and The Wall Street Journal. The debate will also be rebroadcast on MSNBC that evening.

NBC News’ comprehensive “Decision 2004” political coverage will include programming on NBC News, MSNBC, NBC News Radio,, CNBC (primetime), Telemundo and NBC stations across the country.

“We are moving early and aggressively to tell the story of the campaign and the upcoming Presidential election,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, executive producer of NBC News Specials and “Decision 2004” coverage, citing NBC’s ability to use multiple platforms. “We are uniquely positioned to deliver the political coverage of our top-flight team of anchors, correspondents and analysts to every audience in every medium,” Lukasiewicz continued.