From patient zero to now: Journalism alumna Casey Silvestri ’17 reports on COVID-19 for NBC News

When the United States began implementing stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, Casey Silvestri ’17 (Journalism) immediately saw a change in her work assignments. As a producer for NBC News, Silvestri went from frequent travel while covering the 2020 elections to bringing the latest news to viewers from her makeshift at-home work station, her parents’ dining room table.

“Even though we have to film our interviews over Zoom or Skype, I’m grateful we still have ways to communicate with people to tell their stories,” said Silvestri. “The story of coronavirus changes by the hour so my goal is to always bring the latest news to our viewers and help them stay informed.”

Silvestri has had a rapid rise to the role of NBC News Producer and now lends her talents covering a variety of news related to the pandemic. She’s helped produce informative projects that illustrate the uncertain and transformative experiences Americans can relate to, including how-we-got-here pieces like “From patient zero to now” and digestible, informative videos like “What viewers need to know about masks in the coronavirus pandemic.”

Silvestri’s projects and reporting utilize skills that she learned at New Paltz and has perfected as a professional journalist at NBC. She currently produces both taped and live pieces for NBC News NOWthe 24/7 streaming network recently launched by NBC. Her documentary-style work has appeared on the TODAY Show, Meet the Press, and MSNBC. She has also worked for Stay Tuned, NBC News Digital Video and TODAY.

“My journalism classes at New Paltz always pushed us to ‘seek truth and report it,’” she said. “I always channel that mantra in my work, especially since it’s so easy for people to encounter misinformation on the internet. Many of us are experiencing this pandemic in deeply personal ways so it’s crucial we have news outlets we can trust to bring us the most accurate, up-to-date information.”

Because there aren’t many journalists working in the field, Silvestri often relies on footage already shot by NBC affiliates or videos submitted by sources. She also asks correspondents to record scripts from their home and send them via email.

“Crafting and editing the final videos hasn’t changed all that much,” she said. “We’ve just become more creative with how we get our footage.”

Silvestri is a two-time New York Women in Communications scholarship and former member of the College’s Honors Program. Follow her on Twitter.