by Sana Butler
It’s minutes before Tamron Hall steps onto the set of her MSNBC daytime show, NewsNation, and right now the host is on the hunt for printouts of the day’s top stories she’s been following since 9 a.m.: a gay Syrian blogger (which later was found to be an Internet hoax), the GOP primary debates, Los Angeles schools’ budget gap, and a D.C. serial rapist’s revived cold case. Her interviews are live. Her bulleted questions are ready. Hall is so well prepared that she even comfortably tweets five minutes before going on air about the upcoming Father’s Day segment: “Executive editor of People magazine on live, to discuss essay Pres. Obama wrote to fathers 2 p.m. ET.”
Then, a monkey wrench.
President Obama is speaking from North Carolina discussing jobs and the economy. The control room takes the feed live and as a result, Hall’s show will be delayed. She now has to listen to Obama for a few minutes and then cogently convey the details for the breaking-news segment.
“I’m running and gunning every day,” Hall offers with equal ease and seriousness.
NBC News President Steve Capus describes the Emmy-nominated anchor as one of the busiest people at MSNBC who “always has great enthusiasm and an energy that’s infectious.” For 10 years, Hall honed her skills at WFLD in Chicago. While there, she was handpicked by NBC execs after they saw the one-on-one interview with then Senator Obama she had landed shortly before he announced his national candidacy.
Hall was born in 1970 in Luling, Texas. Her father was a master sergeant in the Army and her mother was a teacher. After studying broadcast journalism at Temple University, Hall went on to eat spiders dipped in chocolate on a morning show at WFLD. In addition to her MSNBC program, she is a frequent substitute host for NBC’s venerable Today and Weekend Today.
Beyond work, Hall volunteers for Day One, a New York City–based nonprofit devoted to the issue of teen domestic violence. She joined the organization after her younger sister, Renate, was found dead in the pool of her home after what appeared to be a violent struggle.
[originally published September 2011]