Andrea Canning: ‘No Social Media First Thing in the Morning’

The “Dateline NBC” correspondent on failure and the book that changed her life.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? Andrea Canning: Unfortunately, I check my texts and emails. But no social media first thing in the morning!

TG: What gives you energy?
AC: My five girls give me energy and then they take it right back!

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
AC: I have traveling down to a science. I carry a small bag and no suitcase. Everything has to fit into that small bag or else it’s not coming. I also have TSA pre-check and global entry.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
AC: I read everything I could get my hands on as a young child and it was the Nancy Drew series that got me obsessed with mysteries. Now I work for Dateline NBC, a series that features mysteries, and my eldest daughter reads Nancy Drew!

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?AC: My phone is next to my bed while I sleep and if I wasn’t in news I would definitely silence it, but I can’t. The only time my phone is ever on silent is during my Dateline interviews. I love my phone but sometimes I long for the days of my first job as a TV news reporter in Mississippi when I had no phone, no pager and no internet. People really talked to each other back then.

TG: How do you deal with email?
AC: I look crazy because I try to respond within seconds if I can. Almost like I have no life, but it’s my way of not having to deal with it later or risk forgetting to respond.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
AC: Any extra time in my day goes to my girls. If I’m not at home, my extra 15 will go to calling them or writing my screenplays.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
AC: Burned out for me comes from all the travel with the job. Airport rudeness, flight delays, cancellations, missed connections, and long flights. But, overall, I love my job!

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
AC:
When I can’t make it to one of my girls’ events because of work. When I lose bookings on stories. I overcome it by dusting myself off and moving on ASAP! I deal with death in my job all the time. Families who have been through hell. It puts things in perspective and tells you what matters: as long as everyone in my house is healthy and happy, I can move on from anything quickly.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
AC:
My dad once wrote me the famous Churchill quote in a card once…

“Never, ever ever ever ever give up.” Boy, do you ever need that kind of encouragement in the network news business!


Andrea Canning is a correspondent for “Dateline NBC” and contributes to all NBC News platforms. Canning reports on major crime stories, high profile trials and breaking news.