Max Schindler

News Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Max Schindler talks about his early years as a cameraman/production manager in 1950's local television. He describes his foray into network television in the 1960s as an associate director on David Brinkley's Journal and speaks of his subsequent transition to director. He talks about news coverage of important events of the day, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War. He describes directing news coverage in the days after the Kennedy assassination: capturing the images of the President's coffin being placed onto Air Force One and the newly sworn-in Lyndon B. Johnson speaking his first words as President. Schindler recounts covering other 1960's events, including Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech and the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. He outlines his two-decade long association with Meet The Press, which he began in 1965, and shares his preparations for the show and tales of several guests and moderators on the series. He speaks of his work from the 1970s through 2003 covering such events as the Watergate scandal, the returning of the hostages from Iran, and Papal visits to the U.S. Finally, Schindler describes his work a Washington director for the Today show since 1975. Karen Herman conducted the interview on October 13, 2003 in Washington, DC.

"You have to keep your cool. It's very important when a mistake happens during a show, that you don't stop and start screaming and saying 'who did that or why was that done?' There's enough time after the show to yell or to place blame or whatever else you want to do, but if you start yelling, the whole show can snowball with one mistake after another."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of Watergate and Richard Nixon's relationship with television 
Max Schindler on television's responsibility to the viewer and the biggest story he's covered
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on the first time he saw television; on becoming a cameraman 
On working in local television; on becoming a director at WRC in Washington, DC; on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for NBC News

Chapter 2

On directing coverage of the Kennedy assassiantion for NBC News; on directing the NBC News special American Revolution '63
On the sound byte in American politics; on covering Martin Luther King, Jr; on covering the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the craft of directing live news stories

Chapter 3

On directing coverage of the 1968 Democratic Convention; on directing coverage of the Vietnam War; on how the American Press was looked upon overseas
On his duties as director of Meet the Press; on working with Lawrence E. Spivak, moderator of Meet the Press; on some favorite Meet the Press guests

Chapter 4

On Meet the Press moderator Bill Monroe and the guests of the show; on covering the space program; on covering the wedding of Trisha Nixon
On directing coverage of Watergate and Richard Nixon's relationship with television; on directing The Huntley-Brinkley Report

Chapter 5

On directing Today in Washington, DC; on historical events he's covered
On directing coverage of 9/11 for Today; on his involvement with the DGA and public television; on his directing style and the biggest stories he's covered

Chapter 6

On how technology has influenced the news business; on advice to aspiring news directors
B-roll pictures from his career - on the set of Meet the Press with moderator Lawrence E. Spivak; Lyndon B. Johnson in the Oval Office with Frank Reynolds and Dan Rather; signed picture of King Hussein of Jordan; Richard Nixon and Tricia Nixon Cox on her wedding day; with President Gerald Ford on the set of Meet the Press; with Lawrence E. Spivak in Dallas; with President Jimmy Carter on the set of Meet the Press; in the Oval Office with President Ronald Reagan; on the set of Meet the Press  from Israel; Meet the Press' original logo         
Shows

David Brinkley's Journal

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Max Schindler on working as an Associate Director on David Brinkley's Journal

Huntley-Brinkley Report, The

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Max Schindler on directing The Huntley-Brinkley Report

Meet the Press

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Max Schindler on directing coverage of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the Vietnam War for NBC News
Max Schindler on how the American press was looked upon overseas
Max Schindler on his duties as director of Meet the Press
Max Schindler on working with Lawrence E. Spivak, moderator of Meet the Press
Max Schindler on the original format of Meet the Press
Max Schindler on the preparation he did to direct Meet the Press
Max Schindler on some favorite Meet the Press guests
Max Schindler on directing Meet the Press moderator Bill Monroe
Max Schindler on guests of Meet the Press
Max Schindler on Meet the Press and the Pentagon Papers

Today

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Max Schindler on directing Today from Washington, DC
Max Schindler on dealing with Today's schedule and his family life
Topics

9/11

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Max Schindler on directing coverage of the events of September 11, 2001 on Today

Civil Rights Movement

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Max Schindler on directing the NBC News special American Revolution '63
Max Schindler on covering Martin Luther King, Jr.
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cold War

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Max Schindler on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for WRC and NBC

Iran Hostage Crisis

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Max Schindler on covering the return of the hostages from Iran in 1981

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on television's responsibility to the viewer and the biggest story he's covered

John F. Kennedy

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Max Schindler on meeting John F. Kennedy in West Virginia during the 1960 Democratic Primary
Max Schindler on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for WRC and NBC
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on television's responsibility to the viewer and the biggest story he's covered

Korean War

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Max Schindler on serving in Korea

Lyndon B. Johnson

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Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the Vietnam War for NBC News

Richard M. Nixon

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Max Schindler on directing coverage of the wedding of Trisha Nixon and Ed Cox
Max Schindler on directing coverage of Watergate and Richard Nixon's relationship with television 

Technological Innovation

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Max Schindler on how technology has changed the news business since he began his career

Television and the Presidency

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Max Schindler on meeting John F. Kennedy in West Virginia during the 1960 Democratic Primary
Max Schindler on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for WRC and NBC
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the Vietnam War for NBC News
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the wedding of Trisha Nixon and Ed Cox
Max Schindler on directing coverage of Watergate and Richard Nixon's relationship with television 
Max Schindler on television's responsibility to the viewer and the biggest story he's covered

Vietnam War

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Max Schindler on covering the protests of the '60s
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the Vietnam War for NBC News

War

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Max Schindler on covering the protests of the '60s
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the Vietnam War for NBC News

War on Terror

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Max Schindler on how technology has changed the news business since he began his career
Professions

Directors

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Max Schindler on the craft of directing for news broadcasts
Max Schindler on his duties as director of Meet the Press
Max Schindler on his directing style and how he works with his crew and keeps his cool
Max Schindler on advice to an aspiring news director
Genres

News and Documentary

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Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on directing Meet the Press
Max Schindler on directing Meet the Press
Max Schindler on directing Today from Washington, DC
People

Menachem Begin

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Max Schindler on some favorite Meet the Press guests

David Brinkley

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Max Schindler on directing The Huntley-Brinkley Report

Bob Doyle

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Max Schindler on working as an Associate Director on David Brinkley's Journal

Chet Huntley

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Max Schindler on directing The Huntley-Brinkley Report

Lyndon B. Johnson

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Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on covering Pope Paul VI visiting the United States

John F. Kennedy

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Max Schindler on meeting John F. Kennedy in West Virginia during the 1960 Democratic Primary
Max Schindler on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for WRC and NBC
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
Max Schindler on political figures who were adept at using television and the sound byte

Robert F. Kennedy

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Max Schindler on meeting John F. Kennedy in West Virginia during the 1960 Democratic Primary
Max Schindler on political figures who were adept at using television and the sound byte
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

Nikita Khrushchev

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Max Schindler on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for WRC and NBC

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Max Schindler on directing the NBC News special American Revolution '63
Max Schindler on covering Martin Luther King, Jr.
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Golda Meir

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Max Schindler on some favorite Meet the Press guests

Bill Monroe

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Max Schindler on directing Meet the Press moderator Bill Monroe

Edwin Newman

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Max Schindler on working with Lawrence E. Spivak, moderator of Meet the Press

Richard M. Nixon

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Max Schindler on directing coverage of the wedding of Trisha Nixon and Ed Cox
Max Schindler on directing coverage of Watergate and Richard Nixon's relationship with television 

Lawrence E. Spivak

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Max Schindler on his duties as director of Meet the Press
Max Schindler on working with Lawrence E. Spivak, moderator of Meet the Press
Max Schindler on the original format of Meet the Press
Max Schindler on Meet the Press and the Pentagon Papers

Pope Paul VI

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Max Schindler on covering Pope Paul VI visiting the United States

Ted Yates

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Max Schindler on working as an Associate Director on David Brinkley's Journal

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