SMU alumni active in elections
Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
With the election a day way, President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaigns are going at top speed. The same goes for the work schedules of three SMU alumni who scored jobs in the 2012 election.
Emily Minner (’05), Garrett Haake (’07) and Morgan Parmet (’09) have all lived and breathed the candidates’ every move since the campaigns started.
“I can tell you almost anything about each campaign because I’ve heard their speeches backwards and forwards,” Parmet, NBC’s media manager of digital content, said.
Parmet graduated with a major in journalism and with several internships, including those at WFAA, 30 Rock and NBC Mobile, under her belt. Her first job was on the NBC News Desk in Washington, D.C. Parmet was given opportunities on the MSNBC desk field producing at the White House and in the control room.
A promotion came seven months later and Parmet took on the job of pulling footage for the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, MSNBC, NBC News Channel and Meet the Press. Her first political role also came—helping organize Decision 2010 footage. She then became a researcher for the Decision 2012 Political Unit.
A normal day on the campaign for Parmet consists of making sure NBC is rolling on all campaign events, helping producers select the best shot or bite for a story and working late during every single debate or convention.
“I might work 12 hours a day for six days a week,” she said.
Although it requires a lot of hours, Parmet is an expert at what she does.
“I think the coolest part about my job is if a producer calls me in a panic saying, ‘I need Romney saying something about Big Bird’ or ‘Give me [Joe] Biden saying he’ll put people back in chains’ and I immediately know what they’re talking about, what day it is and where to grab it.”
Haake, a four-time Emmy nominee, also works for NBC. He is an embed reporter on the Romney campaign. His job focuses on traveling the country to cover the governor’s every move.
While working on his degree in journalism at SMU, Haake had the opportunity of an internship at NBC’s Nightly News. This internship, through continued contact, led to his current job.
“About a month before graduation, I got a call from my old boss asking me if I wanted to come back for an entry-level job at the network,” Haake told The Daily Campus in February.
Among his many duties in his busy job, Haake tweets his opinions on the campaign and writes news stories for NBC’s First Read. He was unavailable for interviews due to his heavy travel schedule.
Minner has been working on the Atlanta CNN Political Desk as assignment editor since Nov. 2011.
She agreed with Parmet that a job in political media brings a lot of knowledge.
“I love being in the know on everything as it happens,” Minner said. “Working the assignment desk literally puts you at the central hub of all news gathering. We are the ones who find out about the news first.”
The second presidential debate at Hofstra University was one of Minner’s favorite memories this year.“I got to see Obama’s Air Force One arrival, attend the debate and celebrate moderator Candy Crowley with a champagne toast,” she said.
Parmet named her coverage of the Iowa primary as her favorite moment. She started work at 7 a.m. that morning and spent the day making sure there was footage rolling of voters, candidates and ballots.
“Covering nine candidates at once is quite a challenge and try[ing] to type every single word they say is even harder. I didn’t leave my computer all day long. My fingers were raw by the end of the night,” Parmet said.
She was “hopped up on coffee and candy” all day anxiously watching the ballots come in. Romney and Rick Santorum were neck and neck all night.
“Finally, Mitt Romney was declared the winner around 2 a.m. I was talking gibberish to my counterparts in New York by the end of the night because I was just so exhausted,” she said.
Parmet left the office at 5 a.m. and returned for the next day at 8 a.m. Despite her mere three hours of sleep, Parmet looks back on the night as one of her best at CNN.
A lack of sleep is the norm in Minner, Parmet and Haake’s jobs.
“Working in new and politics does not allow for a normal work schedule,” Minner said. “You will work every day of the week and every hour around the clock. It never stops.”
Parmet said she misses sleep.
“That’s definitely the downside to my job, but it’s worth it to get everything on the air. When you see the final product on TV, you can’t help but smile,” she said.
With Nov. 6 quickly approaching, there is a light at the end of the 24/7 tunnel.
“Once election season is over, everything will calm down,” Parmet said. “I have to say, as exciting as this election has been, it’s also been exhausting.”
Parmet recognizes that all her hard work throughout the campaigns and elections makes an impact.
“I really like that I get to see the nitty gritty of the election,” she said. “I have to admit it makes it really easy to decide who you want to vote for because you learn the campaign platforms backwards and forwards. You make sure the public knows as much about it as possible so they can best decide which candidate they want to vote for.”