Long before Mika Brzezinski became a best selling author and host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” she was one of us, a member of the Eyewitness News team. One of my very first friends at Channel 3, we both were hired in the summer of ’92. Mika and I, along with David Ushery, Eric McLendon and Virginia Cha were the rookie “young guns” at Broadcast House, a bunch of 20-somethings making our way in the trenches of television news, all hired by our then news director, Mark Effron. Our current general manager, Klarn DePalma, also started his career at Channel 3 around that time.
Thanks to a thorough search of the WFSB archives, I uncovered Mika’s first report in August of ’92. It was from a carnival, on the business of summer. In fact, for months her reports were a far cry from the weighty political topics she now deals with every morning alongside Joe Scarborough. There was a hard-hitting expose on which breed of dog is the smartest, to parades and fairs, but eventually Mika got some more serious assignments. On election night 1992, she reported live from the campaign headquarters of Brook Johnson. Remember him? He was the guy who lost in a landslide to Senator Chris Dodd, and that night he told Mika he’d be back to run again. He never did.
The station also sent Mika to Haiti to report on aid from Americares that had been sent to Port-au-Prince.
In 1995, Mika became my co-anchor for Eyewitness News Daybreak, and we had a blast on the early morning grind until I moved to the evening news. In 1996, Mika had the viewers at the edge of their seats as they waited for the day when she would not be there. That meant she was having a baby. Daughter Emilie came in January, and later accompanied Mom to work and to charity events.
This picture here from a clip of Mika in the archives also features then WFSB reporter Barbara Pinto, now of ABC News.
Bottom line, Mika was fun to work with, but she was also a hard worker. Her new book, “Knowing Your Value,” illustrates some of the tenacity Mika has. I’ll tell you a story about Mika that is not in that book, but it is an example of how Mika doesn’t just talk the talk about how women should fight for their careers. I won’t mention names, but many years ago a very good reporter here, who was not a favorite of our news director, (and that’s being kind) feared her days at Channel 3 were coming to an end. That reporter was pregnant, but decided not to tell the boss about her condition because she thought it would make her professional situation worse. The reporter’s instincts were right, and the boss told the reporter she was being cut loose. Mika got wind of it, and was livid. She went above the boss’s head and stormed right into to the general manager and blasted him for trying to fire a woman who was 5 months pregnant. Mika saved that reporter’s job. That would never happen today. Our news director and assistant news director are both moms of three, and worked during and after their pregnancies.
This Sunday on Face the State with Dennis House, we will show you all the vintage Mika video and talk with Mika and her Morning Joe partner, Joe Scarborough, who came to our studios for a taping this week.
Read about Mika’s return: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/morning-joe-on-face-the-state/
Check out another shot of Mika here: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/marking-20-years-at-wfsb/