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."

Highlights
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
08:41
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago
01:59
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of Watergate and Richard Nixon's relationship with television 
08:58
Max Schindler on television's responsibility to the viewer and the biggest story he's covered
01:48
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
02:03
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

View Show Page
Max Schindler on working as an Associate Director on David Brinkley's Journal
03:03

Huntley-Brinkley Report, The

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Max Schindler on directing The Huntley-Brinkley Report
02:36

Meet the Press

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Max Schindler on directing coverage of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago
01:59
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
02:03
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the Vietnam War for NBC News
07:21
Max Schindler on how the American press was looked upon overseas
04:29
Max Schindler on his duties as director of Meet the Press
02:08
Max Schindler on working with Lawrence E. Spivak, moderator of Meet the Press
02:08
Max Schindler on the original format of Meet the Press
02:48
Max Schindler on the preparation he did to direct Meet the Press
01:49
Max Schindler on some favorite Meet the Press guests
03:42
Max Schindler on directing Meet the Press moderator Bill Monroe
01:27
Max Schindler on guests of Meet the Press
03:17
Max Schindler on Meet the Press and the Pentagon Papers
01:04

Today

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Max Schindler on directing Today from Washington, DC
04:06
Max Schindler on dealing with Today's schedule and his family life
01:05
Topics

9/11

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Max Schindler on directing coverage of the events of September 11, 2001 on Today
03:47

Civil Rights Movement

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Max Schindler on directing the NBC News special American Revolution '63
03:47
Max Schindler on covering Martin Luther King, Jr.
01:51
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
02:03

Cold War

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Max Schindler on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for WRC and NBC
02:59

Iran Hostage Crisis

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Max Schindler on covering the return of the hostages from Iran in 1981
02:04

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
08:41
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
02:46
Max Schindler on television's responsibility to the viewer and the biggest story he's covered
01:48

John F. Kennedy

View Topic
Max Schindler on meeting John F. Kennedy in West Virginia during the 1960 Democratic Primary
03:49
Max Schindler on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for WRC and NBC
02:59
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
02:46
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
08:41
Max Schindler on television's responsibility to the viewer and the biggest story he's covered
01:48

Korean War

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Max Schindler on serving in Korea
01:27

Lyndon B. Johnson

View Topic
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
08:41
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the Vietnam War for NBC News
07:21

Richard M. Nixon

View Topic
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the wedding of Trisha Nixon and Ed Cox
05:01
Max Schindler on directing coverage of Watergate and Richard Nixon's relationship with television 
08:58

Technological Innovation

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Max Schindler on how technology has changed the news business since he began his career
01:44

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Max Schindler on meeting John F. Kennedy in West Virginia during the 1960 Democratic Primary
03:49
Max Schindler on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for WRC and NBC
02:59
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
02:46
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
08:41
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the Vietnam War for NBC News
07:21
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the wedding of Trisha Nixon and Ed Cox
05:01
Max Schindler on directing coverage of Watergate and Richard Nixon's relationship with television 
08:58
Max Schindler on television's responsibility to the viewer and the biggest story he's covered
01:48

Vietnam War

View Topic
Max Schindler on covering the protests of the '60s
04:00
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the Vietnam War for NBC News
07:21

War

View Topic
Max Schindler on covering the protests of the '60s
04:00
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the Vietnam War for NBC News
07:21

War on Terror

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Max Schindler on how technology has changed the news business since he began his career
01:44
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Max Schindler on the craft of directing for news broadcasts
01:19
Max Schindler on his duties as director of Meet the Press
02:08
Max Schindler on his directing style and how he works with his crew and keeps his cool
04:24
Max Schindler on advice to an aspiring news director
02:36
Genres

News and Documentary

View Genre
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
11:27
Max Schindler on directing Meet the Press
12:35
Max Schindler on directing Meet the Press
11:52
Max Schindler on directing Today from Washington, DC
05:11
People

Menachem Begin

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Max Schindler on some favorite Meet the Press guests
03:42

David Brinkley

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Max Schindler on directing The Huntley-Brinkley Report
02:30

Bob Doyle

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Max Schindler on working as an Associate Director on David Brinkley's Journal
03:04

Chet Huntley

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Max Schindler on directing The Huntley-Brinkley Report
02:32

Lyndon B. Johnson

View Person Page
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
08:41
Max Schindler on covering Pope Paul VI visiting the United States
04:27

John F. Kennedy

View Person Page
Max Schindler on meeting John F. Kennedy in West Virginia during the 1960 Democratic Primary
03:39
Max Schindler on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for WRC and NBC
02:59
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
08:41
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination for NBC News
02:46
Max Schindler on political figures who were adept at using television and the sound byte
01:58

Robert F. Kennedy

View Person Page
Max Schindler on meeting John F. Kennedy in West Virginia during the 1960 Democratic Primary
03:39
Max Schindler on political figures who were adept at using television and the sound byte
01:58
Max Schindler on directing the coverage of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
02:31

Nikita Khrushchev

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Max Schindler on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for WRC and NBC
02:59

Martin Luther King, Jr.

View Person Page
Max Schindler on directing the NBC News special American Revolution '63
03:47
Max Schindler on covering Martin Luther King, Jr.
01:51
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
02:03

Golda Meir

View Person Page
Max Schindler on some favorite Meet the Press guests
03:42

Bill Monroe

View Interview Page
Max Schindler on directing Meet the Press moderator Bill Monroe
01:27

Edwin Newman

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Max Schindler on working with Lawrence E. Spivak, moderator of Meet the Press
02:08

Richard M. Nixon

View Person Page
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the wedding of Trisha Nixon and Ed Cox
05:01
Max Schindler on directing coverage of Watergate and Richard Nixon's relationship with television 
08:58

Lawrence E. Spivak

View Person Page
Max Schindler on his duties as director of Meet the Press
02:08
Max Schindler on working with Lawrence E. Spivak, moderator of Meet the Press
02:08
Max Schindler on the original format of Meet the Press
02:48
Max Schindler on Meet the Press and the Pentagon Papers
01:04

Pope Paul VI

View Person Page
Max Schindler on covering Pope Paul VI visiting the United States
04:27

Ted Yates

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Max Schindler on working as an Associate Director on David Brinkley's Journal
03:04

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