Valley native Lindsey Reiser follows her calling to NYC

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

MSNBC anchor Lindsey Reiser says all journalists possess an inherent “curiosity.” Some call it being nosey—she contends it’s an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

“It’s nice to be able to turn that into a career,” says the Scottsdale native. “I have a distinct memory of the Twin Towers coming down and running to my parents and letting them know this is happening. To this day, I still have a desire to be on that front line, writing that front line of history.”

Since joining MSNBC on January 7, Reiser has anchored extensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic—reporting from field hospitals, sharing the story of a COVID-19 survivor following a 128-day hospital fight, and the early stages of reopening across America.

An Emmy-nominated reporter, Reiser has evolved from a weekend anchor on “Arizona’s Family” and reporting on border and immigration issues as well as public corruption and violence in Texas.

“I’m kind of covering the same stories in Arizona—people stories,” she says. “I see how the pandemic is affecting them.”

Always a Sun Devil

A New York City resident, Reiser still looks back fondly on her time in the Valley.

“I’m a product of the Scottsdale Unified School District and ASU,” Reiser says proudly. “I grew up in 85260. My parents, though, have sold our childhood home and live in Cave Creek. They always love to tell me it’s 5 degrees cooler there.”

Reiser graduated from Desert Mountain High School. (“Go Wolves!” she interjects.) She graduated from the international baccalaureate program at Desert Mountain and then majored in journalism and Spanish at ASU.

While living at home, watching the evening news was a family tradition.

“My parents always had 12 on—Lin Sue Cooney and Mark Curtis,” she recalls. “There was just something that was really appealing to me. Math and science never were my strong suit. I guess I decided my sophomore year of high school to go into journalism and it stuck.”

During her time at ASU, she interned at ABC 15 for three semesters, thanks to a scholarship through the Scripps company.

“It was a special internship,” she says. “An internship is really what you make of it. I was kind of shy, but you have to get in there and say, ‘I want to help.’ It was a really good experience.”

Her first market was El Paso, Texas, and worked there for a year and a half as a multimedia journalist—she shot, wrote and edited her stories—covering border and immigration issues. While there, she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

She returned to the Valley in 2011 and became the weekend anchor of KPHO/KTVK, also known as “Arizona’s Family.” Reiser took the job at MSNBC to live her dreams. She didn’t want to look back and wonder what else was out there.

“I wanted to scratch whatever itch I had,” says Reiser, who moved to NYC with her UA Wildcat wife, Kathy Clark. “I had an aunt who lived in New York City. I always felt this spark when I was here.

“I have to pinch myself. The dream isn’t without sacrifice. We have each other and we’re not sick of each other, but it’s somewhat isolating.”

Even at “Arizona’s Family,” she worked the weekends and loves it. She calls herself a “weekend warrior,” with her days off as Wednesdays and Thursdays.

“But right now, in this craziness, a pandemic world, anything goes,” she says. “I can get a call on Wednesday or Thursday. Thursdays are when we pitch our stories. Fridays are when we have our rundown meetings.

“Weekends are the days I go into 30 Rock (30 Rockefeller Plaza), early in the morning.”

When she’s able to return to the Valley, she enjoys hiking Piestewa Peak, having ice cream at Churn Ice Cream in Downtown Phoenix, Mexican food at Ajo Al’s and walking through the Biltmore.

“I’m really lucky,” she says. “We do a weekly house party with an app and play games. That’s made a world of difference in feeling connected. I’m dorky and I like trivia. 2020 is an interesting year, to say the least.”   

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