The Newsroom's Margaret Judson on Sorkin, On-Set Pranks and Her Journalism Cred.
In 2010, Margaret Judson was a staff researcher at MSNBC where she worked to produce cable news on a nightly basis. Two years later, the 24-year-old Judson stepped from behind the camera to in front of it, as a regular on HBO's freshman drama, The Newsroom. Judson's path to Hollywood began with a real life walk-and-talk with Academy and Emmy-Award-Winning screenwriter himself, Aaron Sorkin. Plucked from NBC's Newsroom, Margaret now plays The Newsroom's cool-under-pressure associate producer, Tess. Margaret spoke with Character Grades about her unique path to showbiz, her response to the show's critics and stepping into a Sorkin-crafted character.
Tell us a bit about your background. When did you fall in love with news?
I knew from an early age I wanted to work in news/politics in some capacity. During college I was an intern at Countdown on MSNBC. After graduating I worked at NBC in New York as a Page. My favorite assignment there was the 2008 election. At NBC I worked with the "talent” and met a lot of great people. My last job at NBC before I left for LA was blog producer for The Ed Schultz Show.
What was your initial impression of Aaron Sorkin?
I was a fan of his, so when he was coming in to observe the show I was really excited to meet him. I got to show him around and answer his questions, which was really cool for me. He was really friendly and interested in what I did. He's also extremely intuitive and thoughtful so it was interesting to see my job from his perspective through what he chose to focus on.
How did your professional relationship develop?
After Aaron's visit to MSNBC, we kept in touch by email. I would get emails with questions like which producers were responsible for which tasks or how we would get news alerts, that sort of thing. They were mostly technical questions, but he was also getting at the feel of life in the newsroom. I could tell he wanted to be as authentic as he could be within his story. Then when he was done with the pilot he sent me an early draft. It was amazing for me to see how he used some of the things I told him.
I was mostly flattered to still be included in the process and to get my first glimpse of the world he had created, which was both like a newsroom and an amazing new collection of situations and characters I could not have anticipated. Mostly I thought he was really thoughtful to keep me involved.
Although maybe he regrets it now, because I was totally hooked after that and he hasn't been able to get rid of me since!