New York: NBC is to announce today that it has hired Chelsea Clinton to become a full-time special correspondent for NBC News.
The appointment is immediate. Ms. Clinton will show up at the news division offices on Monday, said Steve Capus, president of NBC News, and will begin work on stories that NBC expects to use as part of its "Making a Difference" series, which runs on "NBC Nightly News."
Ms. Clinton has been a national figure since her father won the presidency in 1992, but she has remained - first by her parents' request and then by her own choice - largely out of the public eye.
Mr. Capus said an intermediary contacted him in July with word that "she was kicking around what she wanted to do next."
Mr. Capus said he had met with Ms. Clinton and had a long conversation that began with a simple question. "I asked her: 'What are you interested in doing?' "
Ms. Clinton told him, he said, that during her mother's campaign for president in 2008, she had been moved by stories of people making personal contributions.
"What we talked about was if she were to come on board that's the kind of thing she would be interested in doing. We knew she wasn't going to do the lead story. But having somebody who was going to do really captivating feature assignments for the 'Making a Difference' franchise really kind of synced up," Mr. Capus said.
Those feature reports, which have become popular on NBC's evening newscast - and which may be added to NBC's new prime-time newsmagazine program, "Rock Center With Brian Williams" - spotlight people who are making volunteer commitments to improve the lives of others in their community.
Mr. Capus said Ms. Clinton had said to him, "That's the kind of thing, if this were to happen, that I would really like to do." He added, "It's not about Chelsea Clinton saying, 'Here I am; I want to be a TV star.' "
Ms. Clinton, who was not available for comment, said in a statement: "I hope telling stories through 'Making a Difference' - as in my academic work and nonprofit work - will help me to live my grandmother's adage of 'Life is not about what happens to you, but about what you do with what happens to you.' "
One person close to Ms. Clinton said she had been quietly raising her profile for some time, though the public had not been completely aware of it. That person, who asked not to be identified because of a reluctance to speak for her, said Ms. Clinton had been more active in causes backed by her family's William J. Clinton Foundation, and that she had, in fact, spoken at more than 400 town halls in 2008 in support of her mother's candidacy.
"Even after that people would say they didn't know what her voice sounds like," the person close to her said. "But she enjoyed doing it."
The person also said that Ms. Clinton had said she intended to donate all the money she earned from NBC to the Clinton Foundation and the George Washington University Hospital in the name of her grandmother, who died this month.
Ms. Clinton will become the second daughter of a president hired by NBC News, and the third daughter of a recent presidential candidate. Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of President George W. Bush, works as a correspondent for NBC's "Today" show, and Meghan McCain, daughter of John McCain, is a contributor to MSNBC.
Mr. Capus said the issue of the other political daughters did not come up in his conversations with Ms. Clinton.
But Mr. Capus emphasized that this, and the others, are all serious hires by NBC News. He said Ms. Clinton had "made it very clear that this is not going to be a surface-deep relationship." He added, "She wants to be in the field for the shoot and in the edit room for the edit."
Might this be the start of a full-time television career for Ms. Clinton? Mr. Capus said, "We both want to see how this goes. It will be full time for the near-term future. But I hope it's the beginning of a nice, long-term relationship."
Story first published:
November 14, 2011 17:29 IST