Collier Meyerson was a Nation intern in 2011, and now works in production on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry. In this interview, summer 2012 Nation intern Marisa Carroll asks Collier about her time at the Nation and how it's helped her career.
1. How did you get from being an intern to where you are, producing for an MSNBC show?
I volunteered to work at [The Nation Institute's annual dinner gala] that was being MC'd by Melissa Harris-Perry, who was my mentor during my internship. The event was quite the affair. She and I had corresponded many times, although I'd never had occasion to meet her face-to-face. Five minutes after meeting [me], she asked what my plans were after the internship. I had none. With a cryptic look (she hadn't yet announced her MSNBC gig), she told me to "keep things open." It was positively the second coolest thing that ever happened to me. The first coolest thing occurred a month later when I was hired to work with her show.
2. You were a Nation intern last year, and now you work on Melissa Harris-Perry's MSNBC show, producing segments that often feature Nation contributors. Does anyone ever really leave the Nation?
Nope. Be prepared to be inducted for life. It's like that club at Yale, except the Nation's folks are less exclusive. Although we'd probably never let George W. Bush in. #NationSkullAndBones
3. Which skills that you used fact-checking for print do you end up using most in the MHP production studio?
Learning to fact-check was perhaps the single most important skill I have learned since graduation from college. I have such respect for primary sources. During my time as a fact-checker, I began to realize the amount of bunk that I used to regurgitate as fact. And yes, when I write segments for the MHP show I check scrupulously for the facts.
4. What was your favorite part about the Nation's internship program?
I loved being such a critical line of defense to a machine with so many moving parts. On my first day, I remember an editor telling our cohort that without fact-checking the magazine wouldn't function. I thought maybe he was buttering us up. He wasn't. It couldn't.
5. What makes a story work better on television than in print and vice versa?
Serious and courageous outlets like the Nation delve deep into reporting and provide news networks like MSNBC the meat to synthesize and make digestible for mass consumption. It's more of a symbiotic relationship than anything else.
6. Will you define the concept of the "Carefree White Girl" for those who haven't read your blog?
As noted in the "About" section of the blog: "carefreewhitegirl.com is a running critique of the ways in which popular imagery reinforces the deification of white womanhood." However, I have my Carefree White Girl moments. Really, it's what happens when we abandon self-consciousness in favor of ignorance.
7. Which Twitter feeds are your daily "must-reads?"