Chelsea Clinton takes a higher public profile, joining NBC News

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of the former president and the current secretary of State, will work on stories for the 'Making a Difference' series. Chelsea Clinton will be a special correspondent on NBC's 'Nightly News.'

Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP
George Washington University President Steven Knapp listens as Chelsea Clinton speaks at 'GW Phones for Hope' on Oct. 18, in Washington.

Chelsea Clinton, who for years was sheltered from the news media by proud and protective parents, has taken a major step to boost her public profile, signing on with NBC News as a special correspondent.

Now in her 30s, the daughter of the former president and the current secretary of State will work on stories for the “Making a Difference” series, which appears on the top-rated "Nightly News." The series focuses on people who are helping others through volunteer action. Ms. Clinton will also appear on “Rock Center With Brian Williams,” a newly launched newsmagazine.

Clinton discussed her move on Facebook, where she has had a page for the past several weeks. “What inspires me most are people who imagine and implement solutions to challenges in their own lives, in their communities, in our country and around the world,” she wrote. “Through their 'Making a Difference' franchise, I am excited to work with NBC News to continue to highlight stories of organizations and individuals who make their communities and our world healthier, more just and more humane.”

The newly minted journalist said she will donate most of her earnings to the Clinton Foundation and to George Washington University Hospital in the nation’s capital.  Both donations, she said, are to honor her grandmother, Dorothy Rodham, who passed on earlier this month. Her grandmother “remains my inspiration for this new work as in all things,” Clinton said.

It is rare for someone to start a network news career on the network’s flagship programs. But life is different for the children of former American presidents. NBC News president Steve Capus told The New York Times that an intermediary for Clinton contacted him in July to let him know that she “was kicking around what she wanted to do next.” 

Clinton joins two other well-known political offspring who launched their journalism careers in prominent roles at NBC News. Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush, is a correspondent for NBC’s "Today" program, the perennial leader in morning news-program ratings. And Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, a former presidential candidate, is a contributor to MSNBC.

Early signs of Clinton’s emergence came when she campaigned for her mother during Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 run for the White House. Chelsea Clinton's public activities include serving on the board of the School of American Ballet in New York and the Weill Cornell Medical College, also in New York. Last week, she appeared at a New York Historical Society event to interview her father about his new book, “Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy.” Press reports said she turned in a highly intelligent and poised performance speaking before several hundred attendees.

Clinton, who has worked for the McKinsey management consulting company and the Avenue Capital hedge fund, brings strong academic credentials to her new journalism job. A 2001 honors graduate of Stanford University in California, she has a master's degree in public health from Columbia University in New York and is currently working toward a doctorate at Oxford.

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