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Chuck Todd Hosts ‘College Roundtable’ for Journalism Students Who Had School ‘Pulled Out From Underneath Them’

Students will participate in virtual panels on journalism for the next five weeks

NBC News aired the first “Meet the Press: College Roundtable” on Friday, debuting a show meant to support journalism students at a time when much of their training has been abruptly halted by the coronavirus.

For the next five weeks, students will work with the “Meet the Press” editorial team to identify newsmakers and shape student-led conversations via digital panels meant to share their unique insight and analysis as well as showcase their interview skills. Todd has prepped the students on how to conduct the interviews with newsmakers.

“Everything is unprecedented right now, right? Not just the careers they’re pursuing but the education institutions they’re currently in or entering,” Todd told TheWrap ahead of the series’ launch about preparing students to enter an industry that is currently in such disarray as the coronavirus decimates the American economy.

“That’s what’s really at the heart of this project — letting them really determine where the conversation goes. They identified the types of decision makers they wanted to interview, they worked with our teams to help shape the questions they want asked. We told them, ask the questions that your friends need answers to, not just you,” he continued.

“These students had what would have been the end of their school year pulled out from underneath them,” he added. “No final presentations or in-person goodbyes. And the fall semester is even more uncertain. Their voices and experiences are important here. That’s why we wanted to give them this platform.”

Todd praised the students for their readiness, saying “they’re sharp” and “know their stuff.”

Friday’s premiere of “sharp” students featured Gabe Fleisher, an incoming freshman at Georgetown University; Aiyana Ishmael, a rising senior at Florida A&M University; and Sami Sparber, a rising senior at the University of Texas at Austin. They discussed the measures being taken by educational institutions to keep students safe amid the coronavirus crisis.

New episodes will be available every Friday on NBC News’ digital platforms, including NBC News’ YouTube channel, NBC News’ Stay Tuned on Snapchat, and on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s new streaming service.