This week’s “good read award” (I just made that up) goes to “ Long Night at Today,” Joe Hagan’s cover story in the current New York Magazine. In the piece, Hagan gets deep into the backstory of Ann Curry’s now infamously mishandled departure from the Today Show and the public’s perception that Matt Lauer was behind the whole debacle. Not long after Curry’s firing, the Today Show lost its coveted most-watched morning show status to its arch-nemesis Good Morning America.
Even if you’re not a morning show junkie, “Long Night at Today” is still worth the read and here’s why:
It’s just darn good journalism.
Joe Hagan’s pen is ill. The end of his piece (which I won’t ruin for you) is perfect and brilliant and I’m not over-stating that. It’s nice to read a good, hearty, well-researched piece of actual journalism. Plus, Hagan even throws some serious shade at Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford (he calls their part of the show “tacky”), but it just comes off as honest instead of mean-spirited.
It’s a must-read for media workers and aspiring media workers.
Hagan delves into every corner of the Curry/Lauer situation and it takes him to every rung of the corporate ladder, from drivers and interns to executive producers and presidents. Maintaining and nurturing a career in media often requires chess-like strategic maneuvers and when you add “on-camera talent” to that and millions of dollars in advertisements and salaries, you’re in a whole ‘nother league. If you didn’t already know, just doing your job well, is not enough. You have to have the “right” people in your corner. Ann Curry didn’t have that. Ann Curry didn’t even have an agent!
It’s proof that some people are downright delusional. (Maybe even your boss.)
Ann Curry’s tearful and emotional goodbye on the Today Show was heartbreaking and hard to watch. An unnamed NBC producer Hagan talked to for his piece said that Curry purposely had a meltdown in order to sabotage the show once she left. He described her final Today Show on-camera moment as the equivalent of “strapping on C-4” dynamite. Wow. The woman had an understandably emotional reaction to her unceremonious exit from a show she’d worked on for years and this guy somehow manages to blame her for the ratings dip after she left.
Read Hagan’s piece and tell me what you think about it in the comments.
Demetria Irwin is a New York City-based freelance writer/editor. Follow her on Twitter,@Love_Is_Dope.