Early Riser
Estie Pyper ’16 helps keep MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ buzzing along
by Bryan Wendell
Not everyone should listen to those after-midnight epiphanies about their careers.

Estie Pyper ’16 is a newsworthy exception. She was a few weeks into a job as a production assistant on Early Today, the NBC News show that starts long before sunrise, when it hit her like a jolt of espresso.

“I just fell in love with it,” Pyper says. “It clicked for me that production was what I wanted to do, because it combined my love for theatre and my love for writing. And I’m like, ‘Why didn’t I realize this before?’ ”

Pyper is now an associate producer for Morning Joe, MSNBC’s flagship morning program hosted by Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist. She’s still working extreme hours but now starts at 2 a.m. instead of 10 p.m.

Estie Pyper Headshot
Photo: Estie Pyper ’16
“I’m someone who will nitpick over a story until it’s perfect,” says Estie Pyper ’16.
Each morning — from her apartment during pandemic-prompted remote work — Pyper edits video. Every piece must be compelling, timely and unassailably accurate. That last check is vital to counter largely baseless accusations that news outlets peddle “fake news,” she says.

Much of Pyper’s work is completed before Morning Joe goes live at 6 a.m. Eastern. As she watches the show, she allows herself an occasional split-second celebration when one of her videos is broadcast or a script she wrote is read perfectly on air.

Pyper can trace her perfectionism to Bucknell, where she double majored in theatre and English, performed in shows and wrote for The Bucknellian. In her senior year, Pyper had one of those moments every college student eventually experiences.

“I turned in a paper I knew wasn’t my best work. My professor knew, and she gave it back to me. She was like, ‘All right, do it again,’ ” Pyper says. “I think about that all the time. What’s a more clever way of saying this or that? Bucknell helped with my writing skills, research skills, critical thinking — all of that has come into play.”