- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2015


The substitute has bested the regular. NBC News veteran anchorman Lester Holt has upped the ratings at his network while substituting for Brian Williams, currently waiting out his six-month suspension from the job. Nielsen numbers reveal that Mr. Holt draws 10.1 million total viewers each night - a rare milestone, and one that rival networks have not reached in eight seasons, according to AdAge. Mr. Holt has also increased the much coveted 25-54-year-old viewing audience by 6 percent, and NBC now leads CBS ad ABC.

As a weekend anchor, Mr. Holt has waited years for such intense national attention, and has risen to the occasion. But there is some history here. As a 20-year-old, he was first hired in the business by the late Jerry Nachman - a cigar-smoking Brooklyn native and an award-winning, old school newsman who was editor-in-chief of The New York Post, and news director for multiple NBC and CBS radio and TV affiliates. In 2002, he became vice president and editor-in-chief of the newly founded MSNBC.

All that said, the historical background may lend insight into Mr. Holt’s success - and serve as a primer for all broadcast big shots. Upon receiving a First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association last year, he cited the wisdom of his old mentor Jerry, who died in 2004 at age 57.

“The most important thing he told me was that the highest calling in what we do is being a reporter, and that has been really the guiding principle throughout my career. You can call any fancy title you want - principal anchor, executive producer, news director - at its essence, we are all reporters. That’s what we should be, that’s what we should aspire to be, and that’s what makes us good at what we do,” Mr. Holt declared.

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