When North Korea launched a failed missile test on April 29, Paul Rigney got to witness the resulting political drama from a unique vantage point: Vice President Mike Pence’s plane.
The vice president’s jet, which had recently refueled in Alaska, was taking Pence and his aides on a five-nation tour of the Far East.
First stop: Seoul. Then a trip to the DMZ.
“It was a little unnerving,” said Rigney, a photographer for NBC News and 2010 graduate of Georgetown’s Journalism program.
Even so, it’s the kind of work Rigney loves: Not in an office. Not nine-to-five. A job where “you’re literally doing something different every day.”
“I think there’s some excitement in the unknown,” he said.
Rigney discovered broadcasting while a student at Notre Dame, where he worked on the college TV station. But how did he go from doing a college sports show with friends to reporting for one of the nation’s premier news organizations? The path went through Georgetown.
After graduating from Notre Dame, Rigney landed a job as a production assistant at C-SPAN. It was a good opportunity, but he was no longer behind the camera and worked mostly on scripts. He realized that to be more competitive he would need more training, so he applied to Georgetown, where veteran broadcasting and print journalists teach a wide array of practical skills.
“I can’t say enough about what Georgetown did for me,” Rigney said. “A lot of times in our profession, it’s trial by fire. It prepared me for the fire.”
Shortly after Rigney graduated from the program, C-SPAN promoted him to video journalist. He moved to NBC three years later.
Georgetown’s Jesuit philosophy emphasizes service to others rather than mere personal gain: That’s something that resonates with Rigney.
“It’s a very unselfish approach to our profession,” Rigney said, “and something I can continue to apply.”