“Let’s Get to Work” — in memory of Ed Schultz
He would always call me Badger. Ed Schultz was more than a boss, he was a mentor, a friend. He was a genuinely good person. I don’t know how to process what’s going on, so I’m just going to write.
I started working for the Ed Show exactly six years ago today. I had no idea what to expect. But this big, firey TV personality was as kind as could be. Welcomed me into his show team, and eventually, it felt like into his family. That’s what we were as a show, the little team that could. The team that survived through multiple time slots, and came out on the other side.
Our first broadcast during our single summer of weekend programming, he wanted to highlight the importance of ACA. I knew someone from college whose brother was fighting cancer without insurance due to his job as a freelance writer. Ed brought my former classmate on air — raised money for his bills. And behind the scenes, performed countless generous gestures that he never wanted revealed. He didn’t need the spotlight, he just was generous. He just was kind and caring.
My first ever field shoot was traveling to Fargo to anchor produce for Ed. He would sometimes broadcast out of his beautiful home in Minnesota, right on the water, and MSNBC had a home studio built for him. My first responsibility on the ground was to pick Ed up at the airport to drive the hour to his house for the broadcast. I was so nervous. But Ed isn’t a nervous person. He makes everyone feel at ease, like they’re his friend, and like he cares — which he did. He genuinely cared. About everyone, but especially the “folks who take a shower after work.” On our drive back, we made a detour to his flight hanger. He was so excited to show me the decked out place, let me explore through his world. Welcome me in. Once we got back to his house, Wendy, his wonderful wife, who my heart is torn into a million piece for right now, had snacks prepared, but he wanted to give me the true area experience. We hopped into his decked out four wheeler and we drove to a small burger joint near his property. We sat at the bar watching replays of a TCU football game on TV. His son had gone there, and I lamented, as all good Wisconsin Badger do (hence my nickname) about our Rose Bowl loss to TCU during the 2011 season. The show went off without a hitch, me printing scripts to deliver to the front room of his home and communicate with the control room back in New York. But what I remember most are those burgers.
I traveled with Ed to Florida for a field shoot right before the 2014 election. We had interviewed the candidate for Lt. Governor and after stopped at a boat show nearby. Man, was Ed a celeb there. Everyone stopped to shake his hand, take pictures, thank him for what he was doing. He was kind to everyone. But at the end of the day, he was the most kind to my grandparents. He dropped me off to stay at their house after our shoot. He got out of the car and met them, staying to chat for a while. They mean everything to me, and it meant everything that he was so generous with his time, and kind words. He always said kind things about me.
He loved Christmas time, and loved treating our team to a special meal to thank us for all our hard work. He’s the only anchor I’ve ever heard of that out of his own pocket would take the entire team to a fancy steakhouse for the holidays. He loved a good steakhouse. The last time I saw Ed, in April of this year, his wife, myself and another former coworker were at a steakhouse. His steak eating days weren’t around anymore, he switched to fish.
Toward the end of our tenure as a show on MSNBC, I was frustrated about my next steps. I had felt ready — but things weren’t moving. Ed called me — I can picture exactly where I was, pacing near the scaffolding a block South of the Empire Hotel in Lincoln Center. I though Ed was on my side in this matter, but instead, he gave me some of the best, clichéd advice of my career. “Badger, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I know you’re ready to start running, but you’ll wear yourself out. It’ll happen when it’s meant to happen.” I remember being so disappointed at the time. But he was right.
My last texts with Ed were on June 5th. I had just shared with him the news that I had accepted an amazing job offer to work at the CBS Evening News. His response echoed what he had said three years earlier, “I’m so proud of you and excited for your career move. Keep goin girl !!!!!!! I always knew you could do it !!”
And as Ed would want all of us to do:
“Let’s Get to Work.”