Nina R. Zacuto

I was always a proponent of the Internet and how much you could do with it, and I still am, but the downside of that is that everybody wants to get on the air right now, immediately.

— Nina R. Zacuto

Nina R. Zacuto

While Nina Zacuto was covering the Michael Jackson trial for NBC News, she spoke with Linda Deutsch who invited her to JAWS. At the 2006 camp, Linda introduced Nina to her long-time JAWS buddies. Nina recalled being enveloped in a warm welcome and partaking of interesting activities. Although she entered retirement the following year, she continued to return to the annual camps to enjoy a weekend with friends and listen to their journalism stories.

Nina Zacuto grew up in Los Angeles in a working‐class, immigrant family and had no professional goal in mind, but a serendipitous meeting with a woman news director launched her accidental career in TV journalism. She went on to work for NBC-TV networks for more than two decades. While news producer, she coordinated the coverage major stories such as the 1984 and 1988 Olympics and the 1992 presidential campaign. When the Internet became available, she often suggested that the network should post multimedia and connect more with audiences online. She also grew concerned about the state of journalism because the “emphasis on quality was different,” whereby networks began relying on work of a one-man band instead of a crew of multiple professionals. Since taking retirement in 2007, she has devoted her energies to freelance photography and a nonprofit group called “Trash for Teaching.”

At the 2013 JAWS camp in Essex Vermont, Nina was caught relaxing―a dangerous thing to be doing at camp, for I immediately asked whether she would participate in the oral history project. True to her broadcast practice of reacting quickly, she took the surprise invitation in stride and willingly obliged to the oral history interview the afternoon of October 25.

( This interview was conducted by Youn-Joo Park )