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Murrow Symposium helps grad get job with NBC Nightly News

Closeup of Cameron Limes.
Cameron Limes

A quick glance at Cameron Limes’ Twitter account shows the recent Edward R. Murrow College of Communication graduate connecting with “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt repeatedly throughout 2021, finally landing himself a job with Holt’s news crew six months after their first meeting.

The timeline shows Limes interviewing Holt at the Murrow Symposium in March 2021. Two months later he tagged along with Holt on an interview in Seattle. In July, Limes posted a photo after Holt gave him a personal tour of NBC studios in New York City. Finally, in early October, Limes joined “NBC Nightly News” as a desk assistant. 

“When I was 15 or 16, I knew I wanted to be at NBC,” Limes said. “NBC has everything I want there, news and comedy.”

Limes, from Tacoma, Washington, was a junior majoring in broadcast news when he heard Murrow College would be honoring Holt with a lifetime achievement award at its 2020 spring symposium. He had a talk show on Cable 8 and saw an opportunity.

“I just wanted a three-minute interview for my show and I didn’t let go of it,” Limes said. “I was annoying [Dean] Bruce Pinkleton any chance I could.”

College leadership canceled the 2020 symposium due to the pandemic, giving Limes a year to successfully refine his interview pitch. In March 2021, he finally got his chance to interview Holt, in a premium spot on the symposium agenda.

“Cameron has been diligent about pursuing his dreams,” Pinkleton said. “He took advantage of the many opportunities we have for students at Murrow. He’s an outstanding example of what we want our students to be about.”

Two months after the symposium, Holt flew to Seattle to interview an Alaska Airlines executive, who happened to be Limes’ dad’s boss. His dad, Capt. Ronald Limes, is a chief pilot and previously worked with Holt’s brother at Alaska Airlines. Limes said his dad got him access to Holt’s interview shoot at the hangar. Limes was there as the crew prepped for the interview.

“I was sitting in Lester Holt’s chair,” Limes said. “They asked me to so they could get the shot correct. I’m roughly his height, wear glasses. They could frame the shot and lighting on me so there wouldn’t be a glare on Lester when he came in. He walked in and I was in his chair.”

Holt remembered Limes, and after the interview, Holt’s staff invited Limes to join them at a second interview later in the day.

With that experience fresh in his mind, Limes reached out to Holt in July when he traveled East to visit family. Holt offered him a tour of Rockefeller Center.

Lester Holt reporting from the scene of a news story.
Lester Holt, news anchor for NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC, received the Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award and give the keynote speech at the 2021 Murrow Symposium.

“I got a 45-minute, one-on-one tour with him. He showed me the ‘Saturday Night Live’ studio and I got to talk to a couple of people. I saw the ‘Nightly News’ desk,” Limes said. “It was unreal. I’m still buzzing from the experience.”

It was a thrilling experience for the recent college graduate who was first attracted to the colors of the NBC peacock at 4 or 5 years old.

At the time of his tour, Limes already had applied for the desk assistant job. His pursuit of the position started back in the hangar in May. He said he waited every day for four months, wondering each day if he would hear from NBC.

“I didn’t want to make a wrong move and jeopardize the job,” he said. “It was just patience and perseverance.”

Pinkleton said that what sets Limes apart is his determination to go after what he’s interested in pursuing as a career. At Washington State University he served as vice president of television for Cable 8 Productions and worked on a variety of shows, was a Murrow College Ambassador, worked as a manager at the University Recreation Center and took advantage of every opportunity he could find.

Limes interned one summer in New York with a casting company, and had another internship reviewing scripts and providing feedback for a company in Los Angeles in 2020.

Marvin Marcelo, clinical associate professor at Murrow College and Cable 8 adviser, said Limes worked diligently to improve his skills.

“Cameron is very critical of his work as a TV reporter. Even though it seems he does this naturally, he worked a lot on his storytelling delivery,” Marcelo said. “Whenever he would come to me for advice or criticism, he never wanted me to hold back, and I gave it to him. He would push himself to become better at writing stories, videography and presentation.”

Now Limes works at NBC logging interviews, meaning he watches interviews and records time codes to note who said what, and when. Limes is pitching stories and occasionally doing some editing.

“Recently, I found I really like hard news. I enjoy that,” Limes said. “There’s a softer side to hard news if you choose that in how you approach it. I’ve learned that from Lester Holt.”

Limes co-founded the Stand-Up Comedy Club in Pullman several years ago so he would have a convenient place to practice his routine. He said he’d love to try his hand at comedy one day, but isn’t looking past this opportunity. His more immediate goal is to be a correspondent for “Nightly News.” 

“That I’m going to walk into Rockefeller Center every day, where I always wanted to work, and ride up in that elevator, is mind-blowing,” Limes said.

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