Maggie Geiler, NBC News Today Show Intern Reveals The Importance Of Authentic Storytelling In Media

Maggie Geiler is an intern at the TODAY Show and a student at Fuller Seminary! She’s extremely passionate about the news and creating authentic storytelling. Check out our profile on Maggie to learn more about her experiences with her career in the media!

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself! 

Maggie: “I grew up in Texas my entire life, born and raised. A little over a year ago, I moved to LA to start grad school at Fuller Seminary! I love hosting, entertaining, bringing people together, telling stories, adventuring around LA, laughing until I wheeze (it's a self-considered hobby) and a good cocktail!”

Q: Do you have any favorite memories from your time at Baylor University? What organizations were you involved in on campus? 

Maggie: “I absolutely LOVED college! I was in Pi Beta Phi, and got to live in a house with 7 other girls. We were always pranking each other and laughing, it felt like a movie. I was also involved in different overseas internships every summer, where I got to spend 3 months in different countries partnering with mission and non-profit organizations. My experiences of meeting people from all over the world truly changed my life. I had the privilege of sitting with Indonesians in villages who don't have access to healthcare or even basic medicine, I learned from South African friends who have to protest simply to have equal opportunities due to the racism, violence, and hate they experience every day, and I sat with Syrian refugee women who had lost everything they had. These experiences propelled me into the news because there are so many stories that must be told. There are people that must be represented. During such a pivotal time in our culture and in our world, we must first acknowledge people's stories and sit with their pain to be able to begin to tap into hope. We can't imagine better things for people we don't even know. Acknowledging people and the power of their story is powerful.”

Q: You’re currently working at NBC News as a NBCUniversal TODAY Show Intern! Can you share with us more about your position and how your experience has been? 

Maggie: “I grew up watching TODAY, and have always been a massive fan. Like, home videos of me anchoring as Katie Couric type of fan, so when this opportunity came together (pretty much out of nowhere) I knew it was God. At the time, I wasn't pursuing a career in entertainment. I moved to LA for Fuller and am studying Global Leadership, and in one class I was writing various papers on discernment and calling. For about 2 months, I just kept thinking about the entertainment/news industry and crying thinking of the power it has to represent under-represented people. At the time I was like 'what on Earth is happening,' but I kept praying, was offered the internship with TODAY, and it all started to make sense. The whole experience has been surreal and I've learned more than I thought I could (especially working from home). I work with producers, reporters and researchers to develop stories from pitch to completion. A lot of fact checking, scrolling through social media for user-generated-content, and standing by for my next task. There's really nothing like being a small part of a big story being told, only to turn on the TV the next day and watch it air in real time. I love it!”

Q: How do you navigate your job with your studies as a student at Fuller Theological Seminary? 

Maggie: “Fuller has transitioned to fully online, so it's for sure made multi-tasking much easier. I practice having one day of rest every week where I only do things that are refreshing to me and unplug, and I intentionally pencil fun things into my schedule. With so much deep, theological thinking at school, and facing everything going on in the world at work, I make sure to have hopeful conversations. Sometimes I will call a close friend and just ask ‘what are you hoping for? Tell me how you're making one positive difference in one specific area or realm of the world. Remind me that small decisions to change the world have impact.’ And lastly, I imagine. I pray every day, and while praying I imagine God's heart for humanity. I remind myself of Jesus - his character, his nature, the way of differentiated living he invites all people into... a way of love in the midst of hatred, peace in the midst of chaos, unrelenting hope in the midst of what looks unredeemable. I imagine a better way for the world with God.”

Q: What would you consider to be your proudest accomplishment? 

Maggie: “I'm proud of who I am. I'm proud that I am someone who is evolving and seeking. I'm proud that I am resilient because of the ways I have leaned into Christ in all things. I'm proud that I live authentically to what I believe. As an enneagram 3 (the achiever lol help), it can be a habit for me to see my worth as attached to the things I do or have done. I think my greatest accomplishment is living outside of that box that says "I'm only worthy if ____" and living in the vastness of life that says I already am worthy, and my worthiness is unattached to what I do or don't do. I'm proud of myself for living in the worthiness of who I am - resilient, evolving, authentic.”

Q: What advice would you give to college undergraduates who are hoping to pursue a career in media? 

Maggie: “Focus more on what kind of person you are becoming and less on what you are doing. It's counter-Hollywood, I know. Everyone is doing the next big thing, starting a podcast, or hosting their own IGTV show. It's not about what they're producing, it's about what's inside of you. What does the story of your life say? What are the practices of your life when no one is around? How do you plan on using media as a tool for good? These are really deep questions to wrestle with if you are pursuing a career in media. I'm no seasoned media-gal haha but I know one thing is for sure - what's inside of you will follow you. You exude who you are wherever you go. The media industry is craving authenticity now more than ever, so if you can spend your time focusing on who you truly are and how you will use the tool of media for good, your true colors will show in an interview. Bob Goff, one of my favorite authors, once told me "just keep showing, living authentically, and saying yes and the opportunity will find you." The media needs people who are willing to live a life of integrity and humility for the sake of telling stories that will shape the world for the better.”

Q: Favorite quote? 

Maggie: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Nelson Mandela

Q: What do you root your identity in? 

Maggie: “I root my identity in Jesus. He is my true North, my role model, my highest example. In him, the Bible gives me a different way to live. The entire book of Acts in the Bible is an invitation for a new way to live. One that sees glory when others see ruin. One that assigns honor where the world assigns shame. One that invites everyone to the party because exclusion isn't the way of Jesus. One that celebrates all things and all people and says ‘you belong before you become anything.’ Through the way of Jesus, I know who I am and I am able to live into His hope for the world. I also root my identity in telling stories. I grew up in a half-Italian family that loves cappuccinos and doesn't take no for an answer. At the end of the yearly Easter shebang, when sack races and egg hunts came to a close, we would gather around tables and listen to my Grandma speak. She would tell about trips on sailboats, Italian gelato, dancing with John Travolta, sneaking onto movie sets. I learned that life could be full of whimsy and zeal through stories. I learn who I am daily through Jesus' stories in the Bible. I learned about the world through people all over the world telling me their stories. Storytelling is the most powerful way of communicating in the world, and without it I would not be me!”

Thank you so much for speaking with us! Follow Maggie on Instagram

Photography by Maggie Geiler

Story by Renée Lee