Journalism alumnus Sean McLaughlin spoke with ISU Alumni Association Director Jeff Johnson (right) during the weather segment of NBC's "Today Show" Feb. 13. McLaughlin fills in for Al Roker on "The Today Show" and is MSNBC's weather anchor. Courtesy photo.
Sean McLaughlin, a 1988 graduate of Iowa State's journalism program, has left his meteorologist post at a Phoenix television station to take a job as weather anchor at MSNBC and as Sunday anchor for NBC News’ "Weekend Today Show."
McLaughlin had worked at KPNX-TV for a decade before making the move last year to New York City.
"The job has been fantastic—plenty of opportunities during the hurricanes—and plenty of work!” McLaughlin wrote in an email to Greenlee School Director Michael Bugeja.
Sean (pronounced “Scene”) noted that he still keeps in touch with electronic media studies emphasis head Tom Beell and Associate Professor Emeritus Steve Coon and also appreciated getting good news from Greenlee.
About his recent success, he wrote: “I owe it all to the School!”
In a news release, Mark Effron, vice president for News Daytime Programming, said, “Sean is multi-talented, and that's what we look for at MSNBC. He can communicate important and potentially life-impacting weather news, and will report from the scene of major weather stories.”
Bugeja noted that “Sean embodies the versatility and reporting standards that still define our electronic emphasis.”
Beell, McLaughlin’s adviser, recalls, “I can still see Sean coming to my office to chat about stories he was working on for the TV news class and his job search. I knew even then he was going to do well..."
"I'm not surprised he's going national,” Beell added. “He has everything it takes to be successful in TV—good looks, a pleasant voice, a quick mind and a degree from an excellent journalism program.”
Coon wrote in an email that he and McLaughlin are in “semi-regular contact since his move from Phoenix to MSNBC and NBC. He has already substituted for Al Roker on the 'Today Show' as well as continuing his regular gig on the MSNBC weekday and NBC weekend shows.”
Coon, who retired in May, was especially appreciative that McLaughlin would “accept my annual invitation to visit our TV reporting class when he was in town for homecoming. That was a highlight of the fall semester because he always had inspiring things to say.”
According to Coon, “Sean represents the best of what we look for in broadcast journalists. He has a passion for the business, a charming, genuine on-air personality, and his upbringing reflects the best of Iowa values. Iowa State is fortunate to have had him as a student for four years.”
Associate Director Jane Peterson echoes that sentiment, remembering how supportive McLaughlin has been of the Greenlee School and how proud he has been of his degree.
"His success is not a surprise and is well deserved in such a fine young man.”
While a student in Ames, McLaughlin also reported for WOI-TV (ABC). Before working at Channel 12 in Phoenix, he reported for KMIR-TV (NBC) in Palm Springs, Calif.