Behind the scenes, months and even years of preparation go into CNN’s protection of the world’s greatest occasions like a Presidential election, international summit or royal wedding ceremony.
Because the 24-hour information community’s Vice President of Particular Occasions, Kate (Steinhilber) Lunger directs a staff overlaying historical past, accountable for the small print that stretch properly past what finally ends up on TV. “All the things from trash cans to transmission,” she’s fond of claiming.
Even so, there’s solely a lot that Lunger can management as soon as the printed goes dwell.
A lot has modified about tv manufacturing over three many years within the trade, however the GW girls’s soccer alumna nonetheless finds satisfaction in a job not for the faint of coronary heart.
“We joke that it is organizing the chaos,” stated Lunger, who represented the Buff and Blue from 1985-88.
Main manufacturing planning and execution of CNN’s most high-profile protection, Lunger has been a part of detailing one landmark second after one other. Her work on each special-event programming and breaking information has earned constant reward, garnering the community a set of Emmy, Peabody and Murrow awards.
Since 2009, the Massachusetts native has helmed the planning of CNN’s presidential marketing campaign protection, together with dozens of network-hosted city halls and debates, and her duties reporting on presidential overseas journey have taken her across the globe.
Now going through a brand new problem overlaying an unprecedented election amid a world pandemic, Lunger believes her soccer background ready her for this path, instructing adaptability and teamwork, to not point out the drive to excel in a aggressive discipline.
“I am simply so grateful for my expertise enjoying sports activities that I can apply it later in life with out even excited about it,” Lunger stated. “Somebody picks up the telephone and calls you and says ‘We have to do a city corridor in Pennsylvania in per week.’ Similar to being in the midst of a recreation, you have to determine the place you wish to go, who you’ll depend on and ensure everyone understands their function to make issues occur.”
A midfielder with the flexibility to assist all around the discipline, Lunger discovered a house within the nation’s capital as a three-year captain for a rising program within the days earlier than Atlantic 10 competitors. After compiling a 3-11-1 mark in her rookie season, the Colonials had improved to 13-4-4 by her senior marketing campaign in 1988 below Adrian Glover.
Greater than something, it was an opportunity to maintain enjoying the game that she cherished a bit longer.
“I would been enjoying soccer my complete life, and I wasn’t able to cease,” stated Lunger, who pointed to a staff journey to England as a spotlight of her Buff and Blue tenure. “For me, it was all in regards to the sport and the camaraderie and enjoying the video games.”
Coming to GW, Lunger thought she would possibly examine Historical past or Archaeology earlier than discovering a match as a Radio-TV Communications main. This system supplied hands-on expertise working in a state-of-the-art studio, and upon commencement, she had the know-how to land a collection of freelance gigs and the sense of journey to maintain chasing her dream.
For Lunger, that meant 21 strikes in 10 years at one level. She helped with manufacturing on an array of MLS and soccer video games, frolicked at a neighborhood station in Vail, Colorado and assisted on NBC’s Olympics protection of each the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Video games. There was a far-away stint with Reuters in Japan and a close-to-home one with Northern Virginia-based Sports activities Information Community.
“I actually did not desire a job that I used to be sitting at a desk from 9-to-5,” stated Lunger, who appreciated mentorship from her GW professor Dr. Joan Thiel throughout that hectic interval. “I did not know precisely what I wished, however I knew what I favored. That is what, I believe, stored me going to strive a variety of various things.”
Lunger thought she would possibly stick in sports activities. She definitely by no means anticipated to land at a 24-hour information station, however she labored as a technician at CNN primarily based in D.C. for some time within the early Nineteen Nineties earlier than returning in 1996 as an project editor.
That have with each the manufacturing and editorial groups made her well-suited for a particular occasions function. She relocated to the community’s residence base of Atlanta in 1998 and has been there ever since.
Lunger’s cost is to assist CNN discover the easiest way to inform the story of seminal world occasions. After all, tv – from the expertise to the viewers – has modified considerably alongside the best way, however she’s tailored to be an efficient chief within the trade.
“My kids and my husband will giggle as a result of they don’t suppose I am a really technical individual, particularly in the case of my telephone or my pc or any of that stuff, however I perceive the right way to make TV occur, even when it is solely by realizing the precise folks to go to,” Lunger stated. “I’ve stopped being the one that understands precisely how every little thing occurs, however I am the one that understands that issues can occur and I simply have to get to the precise folks to have the ability to pull the entire mission collectively.”
By now, the moments can begin to blur collectively. There’s been so many unforgettable tales to inform and significant instances behind the scenes.
There was an pleasing journey on Air Power 2 with Vice President Al Gore to cowl the fallout after a significant ice storm, and a frantic second with then-Senator Barack Obama throughout a 2008 debate when she needed to push previous the key service to knock on a rest room door so he did not miss the return from business.
When President Donald Trump met Russian President Vladimir Putin for a July 2018 summit in Helsinki, Finland, Lunger was there.
“I’ve had a front-row seat to historical past in a method that I might by no means have imagined,” she stated.
Some initiatives, just like the annual CNN Heroes particular, are fastidiously choreographed properly earlier than airtime. But, when information breaks, Lunger must be prepared.
After the September 11th assaults, she remembers 30 straight days of 12-hour shifts serving to on protection that was finally awarded with an Emmy.
“It was continuous,” stated Lunger, who was additionally a part of award-winning breaking information protection of Hurricane Katrina and the Israeli-Hezbollah battle. “As a result of that is what we needed to do to maintain everyone on the air and speaking folks via the right way to get the place they wanted to go.”
Nowadays, the job appears to be like totally different than ever earlier than. Normally, she’s on the highway for many of an election yr, however amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she spent six straight months at residence savoring some additional high quality time together with her husband Matt and college-age sons Zach and Cole.
Reasonably than being in D.C. on Election Day like ordinary, she’ll be in Atlanta main protection there. The community will likely be going dwell from D.C., New York and Atlanta in an effort to stick to social distancing laws inside its manufacturing.
Lunger is up for the problem, able to adapt on the fly at a second’s discover. Maybe even leaning on just a few classes from her days within the Buff and Blue.
“Again then, I by no means ever, ever would’ve thought that is what I would be doing,” Lunger stated. “I really feel like I needed to struggle my method via slightly bit, however after I look again, there are a variety of issues that set me up for fulfillment.”