Rachel Maddow Talks
...and talks, and talks, and talks, all the way to her own successful TV news show.
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
Rachel Maddow is the host of the MSNBC hit program, "The Rachel Maddow Show." Entertaining and filled with witty commentary, the show quickly climbed in popularity af-ter its launch in September 2008. It didn’t hurt that the launch was just in time for the final heat of the hottest presidential race in this generation. (She is also the host of a long running radio show by the same name on Air America.)
Her funny, fast-paced take on the news quickly put her on the must-see TV political map. With all this fuss, it is only natural for one to ask: who is Rachel Maddow? The Scholastic Kids Press Corps decided to find out. Born in 1973, Rachel Maddow was raised in Castro Valley in California. She obtained a degree in public policy from Stanford University, and completed her doctor of philosophy degree in political science from the University of Oxford in England.
After such a vigorous education, Maddow surprised herself when she became a re-porter.
"The first thing I ever really thought I was going to be, because I was being it, was that I was an activist," she said.
But commentary called. She got her start as a sidekick host for a local radio show, a job she took as a dare. Maddow soon fell in love with the world of radio and was again taken by surprise when she was given her own show.
A visit to the set of "The Rachel Maddow Show" (called TRMS by the "in" crowd), revealed how much work goes into making a successful live show—something Maddow still cannot believe is happening.
As energetic off screen as she is on, her enthusiasm is contagious. So is her work ethic. When asked about her toughness in interviews, she offered some advice for budding young journalists.
"Always be better prepared than your opponent," she said. "That, in turn, will give you the confidence you need to ask hard questions."
Despite her obvious liberal political leanings, Maddow said she did not support Barack Obama's bid for the presidency. As a journalist, she said she did not feel comfortable endorsing any particular candidate.
Maddow had another piece of advice for aspiring reporters: READ.
"The first book I ever read was The Hobbit," she said. "So, I've always looked at everything from the perspective of Bilbo Baggins! Seriously, I read, read, read all the time. I usually have several books going at once."
Here are few other tips she gave:
- Do your homework (otherwise known as research or preparation). Hard work will take you far.
- Have integrity in all you do; you will be a better reporter for it
- Never take anything for granted, including success.
The 36-year-old commentator is not exactly sure what comes next in her career. She says she is content enjoying the present success of her TV and radio shows.
Read more about Kid Reporter Lya Ferreyra’s visit to the set of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on the Scholastic Kids Press Corps Blog.