‘Today’ co-anchor Savannah Guthrie puts her faith on the line in a new book

Savannah Guthrie is seen on the sidewalk outside Rockefeller Center in New York City.
Savannah Guthrie, photographed at Rockefeller Center in New York City, is celebrating her 10th year as part of NBC’s “Today” Show.
(Jesse Dittmar / For The Times)

Every TV news anchor needs a high level of authority and confidence to succeed, making expressions of self-doubt a rarity. But Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of NBC’s “Today” since 2012, has never been shy about asking for help.

Guthrie, 52, has long relied on prayer to navigate challenges or setbacks in her life, such as the death of her father when she was a teenager and a brief failed marriage in her mid-30s. She admits she turned to faith during her career ascent to the anchor desk at “Today,” which was fraught due to longtime viewers’ anger over the treatment of her predecessor Ann Curry. And she still looks for spiritual guidance to get her through tough assignments.

Years of Bible study and growing up in a household where Guthrie said God was considered a member of the family taught her how to rely on her faith. Her new book, “Mostly What God Does: Reflections on Seeking and Finding His Love Everywhere,” from W Publishing, is a users’ guide for those curious about how faith can be integrated into their everyday lives.


Guthrie recently shared her thoughts about the book — already a No. 1 bestseller on Amazon — in a recent conversation from her office at Rockefeller Center in New York.

Why write about God and why now?

I’ve never been interested in writing a memoir or telling old news capers. I have a full-time job. I have two little kids. But when I was approached and given the opportunity to write about faith, I couldn’t say no. It’s certainly the core of who I am but also one of the subjects I find most intellectually stimulating and challenging. Any conversation I have, it usually gets there because it’s just so much of who I am and how I see the world.

Just to be clear to the reader, the book is about faith, not religion.

I would say that’s right. I come from a certain background. I grew up in a Baptist church, and it is very much from a Christian perspective. But I’m not a theologian. I’m not a biblical scholar. I’m just a regular person, a person of faith. And so it’s really how to have a relationship with God in the real world, with real questions, and how to connect with God when you sometimes don’t even feel that you can, or that it is even available to you.

You reveal a lot of experiences from your life in this book, not all of them happy.


You can’t talk about faith in a vacuum. It’s not some antiseptic, esoteric concept that happens at a distance. It happens in real life. And so the things I was wanting to express and convey about what I believed about God and why, many times I would illustrate them through stories and circumstances that happen in my own life. But I felt it was important to tell a real story. And I think that we find our faith in times of trial, disappointment and setback.

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June 7, 2021

It seems like it’s part of the job of a morning show host to share a lot about themselves, certainly more than any other type of news program. You’re a pretty private person, so has it been a challenge for you?

It felt very strange when I first started at “Today” because it is so personal. You do talk about your life and sometimes show pictures of your kids or your husband might come on Valentine’s Day with a bouquet of roses. (Guthrie is married to communications consultant Michael Feldman and the couple has two young children.) And I came from Washington where I was a White House correspondent. The last thing you should do would be talking about yourself, so that was definitely an adjustment.

But I think for all of us it’s really trying to find that fine line. Nobody wants to see you sit on the air and just be yammering about yourself all day long. It’s a balance of letting people see the essence of who you are, because they’re getting their morning news from you and that’s a very intimate relationship, just being in their homes at that hour of the day. So I think that they want to feel that they know the person who is sharing information with them. But I’ve always tried really hard to stay out of the way and not insert myself too much.

You write about how praying a psalm got you through a blinding, tension-induced migraine headache on your first day as co-host of “Today” in 2012, which came after a very rocky period for the program. Do you always have something like that at the ready when heading into a presidential town hall or other high-pressure moments?


Every single day, but yes, those high-pressure moments and interviewing any president would certainly count — I rely on my faith completely. I don’t know what the exterior looks like, but inside I’m always full of anxiety and worries and I’m stressed out when I have a big interview. And so my faith is what calms me and grounds me. And it’s what keeps everything in perspective. It doesn’t mean God is going to give me a great interview or something. It helps me remember that I’m not alone and it gives me a certain peace to know that there’s something greater at work here that has nothing to do with this interview.

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You’re raising your children in an interfaith household. Tell me how that works.

Mike is Jewish and we have always understood that when we had kids that we wanted to make sure that they were raised with and familiar with their faith background. Mike also knows how important my faith is to me, and he knows that as a mom I feel like my No. 1 duty is to explain to my children and try to convey to them the God I know.

It’s an interfaith marriage and there will come a time, I’m sure, when my kids will have questions about that. But Mike and I always knew and understood that we would be raising them to have faith, to know God, to embrace their Jewish heritage as well as their Christian faith, and that when they are grown it will be their choice what faith to choose, or no faith at all.

You reveal in the book that you don’t like organ music. For some people, it’s the best part of the church experience.

I thought all of the organists who might read it and be offended. I don’t know, my mom and I never liked the organ. It’s loud and plodding and not very melodic.


Don’t you like that feeling of being enveloped by the sound while you’re sitting in a chapel?

I’m more [pro] piano and acoustic guitar. I’m not anti-organ. Well, now I’m just trying to wriggle out of it.

You’re on the record, madame.

I know, I really am. I didn’t couch it at all.

So is there a Bible passage of any kind you can recommend that will help us get through the 2024 election?

All of them. I mean, it’s not just the election, all current events, all situations. I really do think having faith and perspective and I hope the message of love. You know it sounds like some hippie-dippy slogan, but it’s not. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. I think this is the call to greet each other in love. And if we really could, and did, look at each other with love the way God looks at us, we’d have a much different world.