Westmont Magazine In the News for NBC
An anthropology major fit Priya David ’97 well. Growing up in Brussels and London with parents born in India but educated in the United States, she gained a lot of international experience in her youth. She also learned to speak three languages: English, Tamil and French.
Beginning her college career at Wheaton in Illinois, Priya spent a semester at Westmont as a consortium visitor and decided to stay. “I found a place at Westmont with like-minded people who shared my spiritual interests and international outlook,” she says. “I made good friends, and many of them are still part of my life today.”
Involved in theater, Spring Sing and Potter’s Clay, Priya also worked as a resident assistant. Writing tutorials with Professor Steve Cook helped her develop her communication skills, and Professor Laura Montgomery’s guidance honed her interests in the world around her.
When she graduated, she decided to pursue an interest in television and landed a job with the Fox station in Santa Barbara. She started as a program assistant, became a program director and served for a year as a news producer. When the station was sold, she applied to graduate school and received a full scholarship to USC, where she earned a master’s degree in broadcast journalism. While she went to school, she worked full time as a producer for a 24-hour news channel in Orange County. Later she became the executive producer for a show at USC.
As part of the master’s program, Priya spent two months in London working at CNN. The same summer, she was one of three young Americans selected to spend a month in Finland on a press tour showcasing the country’s culture and people.
After graduating from USC, Priya applied to a highly competitive news associate program at NBC. One of 1,100 applicants for seven spots, she survived three interviews, including one in New York City, to get the job. The year-long program involves stints at four different NBC departments.
Priya began with three months at Dateline, where she did undercover investigations, including one on mammography. Since she had a little on-air experience, she then worked as a reporter for an NBC affiliate in Alabama, which confirmed her interest in on-air work. She started her next assignment at NBC Nightly News the week of the shuttle disaster. “I then watched the NBC machine swing into action to cover the war in Iraq,” she says. She worked in the information services unit in the situation room, monitoring different news sources. Her last assignment was with Brian Williams’ CNBC show.
When she finished the year-long program, NBC invited her to join 80 candidates in applying for one of nine new positions covering the Democratic presidential campaign. Once again she got the job. A one-person unit armed with a camera and a laptop editing system, Priya will follow Congressman Dick Gephardt from Missouri as long as he stays in the race. “When it comes to Gephardt, I will be the eyes and ears for NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, and MSNBC.com,” she explains. She will report live regularly for MSNBC on the status of the campaign, shoot behind-the-scenes video, write daily journals for the Web, and cover breaking news.
“I like the immediacy of journalism,” she says. “I love talking to people, and I thrive on new experiences. I also enjoy the creative aspects of my work, crafting words and images as I put a story together. Ultimately, I really believe in the power of good journalism as a catalyst for social change.”