Kristen Welker is set to become the first Black journalist and the second woman to anchor “Meet the Press,” America’s longest-running television show. She will be the show’s 13th moderator, succeeding Chuck Todd, who finished his nine-year tenure this past Sunday with a special segment in which he officially handed over the reigns to Welker.
Todd said to Welker, “You push yourself hard. You work really hard. You prepare. You out-prepare so many people,” before giving her his vintage, battery-backup alarm clock that he’s used for nearly a decade as a gift on-air, according to People.
To which she replied, “I am ready, Chuck, and I just want to say I am also so thankful and grateful to you for this moment for entrusting me with this monumental, important role,” according to the Washington Informer.
“I take this responsibility so seriously. I’m ready because you have helped me get ready, Chuck. You are someone who invests in the people that you care about, and you have invested in me, and I am so eternally grateful for that,” she added.
In 2010, Welker joined NBC News as a network correspondent. Since 2011, the 47-year-old Philadelphia native has worked for NBC as a White House correspondent, and she has even moderated one of the 2020 presidential debates.
The acclaimed journalist’s new post has received significant admiration and respect.During her last White House briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre rejoiced and congratulated her. Her employees appreciated her for her professionalism, preparation, and readiness to assist.
“Kristen has this incredible wealth of knowledge and insight into Washington that I have on occasions leaned on while preparing for major interviews. Nobody does their homework or prepares more thoroughly than Kristen. No matter what she does she is all in,” Lester Holt, an NBC Nightly News anchor, told People.
Another colleague, Andrea Mitchell, said of Welker, “I can attest to her eagerness to jump into action for others, even while under pressure herself. A conversation with her usually begins with her asking, ‘How can I help you?’ She is a rare combination: a pit bull when chasing a story and the kind of friend you know you will treasure forever.”
In an interview with WTMJ, Welker stated that her mission is to “reflect the voices all across this country from different backgrounds.” And I believe that is part of the responsibility and heritage that I will carry.”
According to CNN, Welker will begin her time as anchor with an interview with former President Donald Trump, which was later confirmed by NBC News.
Welker earned a magna cum laude degree in American history from Harvard College in 1998. While in college, she interned for the Today program and worked for local TV stations in Providence, Rhode Island, Redding, California, and Philadelphia, her hometown, before joining NBC full time in 2010.
Her accomplishments, significant education, and expertise have earned her numerous accolades over the years. She was nominated for a national Emmy Award in 2020 for her work on NBC News’ midterm election coverage. She joined the White House press corps in 2011 and covered the 2016 presidential election. Welker was named co-anchor of “Weekend Today” alongside Peter Alexander in January 2020. In 2020, she was elected Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.