Anchor, Intern, Executive Producer: Newhouse Junior Makes Most of Opportunities

One of Jake Morel’s most cherished moments from his MSNBC internship was meeting Academy Award-nominated film director, Christopher Nolan. 

Nolan didn’t just spend a couple of minutes with him. He was gracious enough to allow Morel, a junior, to spend extended time with him, talking and walking around 30 Rockefeller Plaza, MSNBC’s home in midtown Manhattan.  

A man stands in front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza
“What I tried to do is anytime I saw someone famous or successful, I would introduce myself,” said Morel of his time at 30 Rock.

This memorable experience was no chance encounter either, but a result of Morel’s hard work and determination to carve out a place for himself in the broadcast journalism industry. 

“I’m a big fan of [Nolan], but the people that came on these shows I worked on every day are super accomplished. Just being around smart people every day I feel forced me to be smarter. That was always the goal,” Morel said. 

Morel is a double major studying broadcast and digital journalism at Newhouse and political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Going into college, Morel wanted a place where he could learn about both journalism and politics.  

“The goal in coming to Newhouse has always been to teach myself to do a profession that gives back and does something good for the world,” he said. “I wanted to learn whatever I can from everybody and anybody that would offer it to me.” 

In two years, Morel has learned a lot, taking advantage of every opportunity. He’s gone from having no television experience out of high school to covering President Joe Biden during a visit to Syracuse and working at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. 

A reporter stands on a tarmac, reporting on Air Force One
Morel covering the arrival of President Joe Biden in Syracuse on Air Force One.

Morel was a production intern at the iconic Big Apple address in the summer of 2023, using his connections from a previous internship at 13-WREX, a local NBC station, to secure this opportunity. At MSNBC, he assisted on the shows “Deadline: White House” and “The Beat with Ari Melber,” and did everything from conducting research for the anchors and helping edit videos, to making graphics and more. 

He even got the chance to produce a full “The Beat with Ari Melber” segment that focused on one of former President Donald Trump’s indictments.  

But what made his experience so valuable was the plethora of connections he made and getting the chance to learn from veteran journalists like Melber, Katy Tur and Ali Vitali. 

“Working in 30 Rock is just unmatched because you get to walk by and meet all these people all the time,” he said. “What I tried to do is anytime I saw someone famous or successful, I would introduce myself.” 

Besides Nolan, Morel got to meet other MSNBC personalities like civil rights activist Al Sharpton, or notable guests like hip-hop artists Jeezy and Chance the Rapper.  

Morel not only impressed his summer employer, but his Newhouse professors, too.  

Edecio Martinez, a BDJ professor of practice, recalled when Morel, as a first-year student in 2021, composed a long email presenting why he should be able to enroll in a Public Affairs Reporting (BDJ 530) course mainly designed for juniors and seniors. Impressed by his initiative, Martinez allowed Morel to enroll. 

A man sits behind the anchor desk in a television studio
“The goal in coming to Newhouse has always been to teach myself to do a profession that gives back and does something good for the world,” Morel said. (Photo by Leigh Vo)

“Jake exemplifies the kind of student who fully embraces the opportunities provided by the Newhouse School,” Martinez said. “His proactive approach shows that he doesn’t merely seize opportunities, he creates them.” 

Morel keeps creating opportunities for himself. Back in Syracuse, he continues his intern work remotely for “The Beat with Ari Melber.” Morel also anchors two shows on the student-run CitrusTV, where he anchors “News Live at 6” and the political analysis show “Talking Points.” He serves as executive producer for the economic news show “Market Shares” and leads promotions and recruiting for the station.  

“I’ve had such a great experience here that I like being able to give back and show what that experience can be to [prospective students],” Morel said. 

Max Gifford is a sophomore in the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.