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Gregory: ‘I like this gig now’
David Gregory spoke to a group of student media prior to delivering his lecture on the 2008 election last Wednesday. He discussed his ventures into the world of journalism and his thoughts on his previous and current jobs.
He said he began “plotting and planning” on how to enter the field when he was 17. He was on the air when he was 18 and essentially had a job under his belt after graduating American University because of contacts he made at an ABC station in Tucson, Ariz. He then joined NBC when he was 25.
“I got lucky,” Gregory said. “I worked really hard and had a very clear sense of direction.”
Gregory compared deciding to go into journalism to deciding to become a professional athlete.
“At some point you’re going to make this decision,” Gregory said. “Then you have to do what it takes to win, and what you don’t want to do is doubt.”
Gregory said he was always very curious and was “attracted to the ambience of news.”
He took that attraction to the White House during George W. Bush’s years in office. Gregory knew that the late David Bloom, who was covering the Bush campaign at the time, wanted to leave the White House. Gregory told Tim Russert that he wanted to cover the campaign and eventually be the White House correspondent.
“It’s an obvious place to aspire to,” he said. I covered a lot of legal cases. I covered the (O.J.) Simpson case and the (Timothy) McVeigh trial, but I knew covering politics and the White House was the place to be.”
Gregory covered the Bush administration until almost the very end, when he moved to the “Meet the Press” set last December. It’s a new challenge for the experienced Gregory, but does he miss the White House?
“I thought I would miss it more,” Gregory said, noting how great the story of Barack Obama’s presidency is. “But I really don’t. I was blessed with that experience, I really was, but it was a grind.
“You’re on [the President] all the time, the hours are long, you’re trapped down at the White House, you’re on the road a lot. So that part of it I don’t miss because I’m also in this incredible role where I am connected, I am reporting on these things, but I’m doing it in a different status.”
Gregory said, however, that he misses the bonding that usually occurs between the press corps and the President during international travel.
“(Current NBC White House correspondents) Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie look all drawn and tired, and I think, ‘Look, I’ve been there and I know what it’s like,'” Gregory said. “I like this gig now.”