Alexandra Leigh Young: Producer, Calendar Whiz, Author, K-Pop Stan
We wanted to give you more insight into the producers and editors who make the show happen. So we’re starting a series of profiles that will help you get to know them a little better. First up, senior producer Alexandra Leigh Young.
First things first, how did you make your way to The Daily?
I started on the audio team back when there were only two producers! On one of my first days reporting to work, I entered the building to see newly elected President Donald Trump in the lobby, surrounded by hundreds of reporters and onlookers. I thought, “Well, I guess it’s real — I work at The New York Times now!”
Before starting at The Times, I was a producer at WNYC’s Radiolab and before that I had many jobs, one of which was producing tours for pop bands like Third Eye Blind, New Kids on the Block and Nick Lachey.
Tell us a bit about your role on the show.
My role is very different from the other senior producers on The Daily. While I do produce episodes, I spend much of my time looking at the weeks ahead, plotting out the show calendar and making sure that each story is pushing ahead as planned and is properly staffed, juggling everyone’s schedules to make sure our incredible team gets some rest.
What is it like managing the calendar?
I think the technical term for it is “bananas.” Typically, we have episodes planned out a week in advance, but, of course, when news breaks we have to drop everything and turn to that story, rearranging schedules and sometimes killing stories that get stale. Other times, we have to rerecord with reporters as a story that missed its air date evolves. As my colleague Theo Balcomb always says, it means we constantly have to stay “knees bent.”
What’s the craziest experience you’ve had crashing on an episode?
I’ll never forget the time I closed the first Democratic debates in 2019. Debates are always guaranteed late nights, and that night we were about 40 minutes away from our 6 a.m. deadline when my colleague Rachel Quester yelled across her desk at me: All the tape in her audio editing session was suddenly corrupted.