By now, many of you have heard the news about my departure from MSNBC. Allow me the chance to share with you the context in which this story broke and how quickly and professionally my staff handled having their Sunday encroached upon.
I was invited to deliver my first ever Commencement speech to the graduating class of Union College. (Let me take this opportunity to wish them another congratulations on their successes; onward and upward.) I was honored to receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the school and then do my best to not embarrass myself in front of a talented group of young, eager soon-to-be-graduates.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Brian Stelter of the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog was hot on the tail of a story. I took my phone out after the ceremony (always a no-no) to discover that Brian wants a statement on me leaving MSNBC. Time to scramble the jets.
After allowing us time to contact my staff and deliver the message myself, I responded to his request for a statement with this: My last day on air at MSNBC will be June 22. My letter of transition, Beyond Talk, only begins to tell the story of my appreciation and debt of gratitude that I hope to pay back as I continue on in my journey.
As I told Brian: “Once you’ve said your piece, you can either keep saying it – or you can decide what you’re going to do about it.” The opportunity to learn from those that are leading us to reveal new ways to resolve the ongoing narrative of my television show is too thrilling to pass up.
I am fortunate to be able to spend the next two months talking to people, listening, and making a plan for whatever is next. To those of you at home, thank you for your ideas, thank you for your passion, thank you for making us so successful, and thank you for your support. To those of you that have been members of my MSNBC family, thank you for your creative energy and, our most precious resource, time over these three years.
As we go into the summer, and we start asking what it’s going to be that shapes the future of this country, think of what the president of Union College, Dr. Stephen Ainlay, asked his students on Sunday at their Commencement: “Why not you?”
I echo that question: Why not you? You are the hero of your own story, and the renewal and resolution of America’s obstacles begins with each individual, with our interactions and connections to the world around us. It’s the culture, and I am going to explore what our heroes have in store for us. Stay tuned.