In Defense of Matt Lauer
Since everyone seems to be piling on Matt Lauer, let me add a few thoughts to counter the narrative. Ann Curry, while incredibly passionate about international affairs, wasn’t able to be an effective journalist within the five- to seven-minute time period that morning TV operates in. I say this with knowledge from having seen her interviews for years and from working closely with her and her producers on a segment that aired shortly after she took over as co-host.
Ann was provided with all the background info she needed. There was even a taped, set-up piece that led into her live interview with the client. Her job was to: 1.) bring out the emotional elements that TV needs in that kind of format from the guests; and 2.) advance the story beyond the set-up piece.
For whatever reason, Ann wasn’t able to hit these points on this particular morning. She was confused and unprepared for the topic at hand. And, there are many other examples. The viewer was the loser in this exchange.
Matt may not have liked Ann; Ann may not have excelled at cooking segments; maybe her clothes weren’t the right color, etc., etc.
But the most important thing is that in a morning news segment there is a beginning/middle/end and dramatic points to hit along the way. Media trainers and PR consultants understand the formula but Ann Curry never did.