During the 2016 presidential campaign, NBC News journalist Katy Tur followed Donald Trump around the country and was personally called out by the future President as “little Katy.” Since Trump was elected, Tur appears on MSNBC, hosting the 2 p.m. ET block.
The 33-year-old Tur has appeared on all NBC News platforms, including the Today Show< NBC Nightly News and Meet the Press. She was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Philosophy.
Here’s what you need to know about Katy Tur.
1. Tur’s Father Is Transgender Journalist Hanna Zoey Tur, Who Famously Covered the 1992 Los Angeles Riots
Tur is the daughter of Hanna Zoey Tur and her former wife, Marika Gerrard. Hanna Zoey Tur was born Robert Albert Tur and is famous for creating the Los Angeles News Service, which was the first of its kind to use an AStar helicopter to cover breaking news, with Gerrard. Hanna Zoey Tur famously covered the 1992 Los Angeles race riots, and was interviewed for O.J.: Made In America (2016) to discuss her coverage. She also covered O.J. Simpson’s famous 1994 car chase.
In June 2013, Hanna Zoey Tur announced that she had gender identity disorder and started therapy, notes the New York Daily News. A year later, TMZ reported that she completed her sexual reassignment surgery.
In a 2015 interview with People Magazine, Hanna Zoey Tur claimed that Tur didn’t talk to her for a long time. Her older brother James was immediately supportive though.
“My son was great, he told me, ‘I support your decision and if this will make you happy then I’m on board,’” Hanna Zoey Tur told People. “But my daughter was shocked. She had a great deal of difficulty and we stopped talking for a long time.”
After Hanna Zoey Tur appeared on Inside Edition in February 2015 though, she said her daughter sent her a congratulations message.
“My daughter found out about it and sent me a nice note saying congrats on the job and told me that I look beautiful, which meant a lot,” Hanna Zoey Tur told People.
In a recent profile in the New York Times, Tur disputed her father’s version of events. She said that they were “not on speaking terms for a little while, but that’s not because of the transition.”
“About my transition, I demanded early on that my children accept what even I don’t fully understand myself. No child should have to deal with a father in transition from male to female. Perhaps it will be the subject of Katy’s second book,” Zoey Tur said in a statement to the Times. She added that in December 2016, “Katy called to tell me she was sorry and that she loved and accepted me. We agreed to set things right and have been working on that goal.”
2. Tur Was a Constant Trump Target, Being Called ‘Little Katy’ & ‘Incompetent’ By the Future President
Tur became a media star during the 2016 presidential campaign, even though she didn’t try to be. For an odd reason, Trump liked pointing her out and insulting her. For example, during a rally in South Carolina, he called her “Little Katy,” prompting “boos” from the crowd. On Twitter, he called her out as a “3rd rate reporter and told NBC to fire her. During a Florida rally just says before the election, he yelled at her for not reporting on his crowd sizes, which inspired the #ImWithKaty Twitter trend.
As The Washington Post notes, NBC had to hire a private security detail for Tur. Secret Service agents even once helped her leave a venue safely.
“I think she’s incredible,” her boss, NBC News President Deborah Turness, told the WAshignton Post in January. “She was tough but fair. She never once stopped working, never once pulled back from her commitment. It takes an amazing amount of poise to hold your position when the crowd is chanting your name, or when people are questioning your journalism.”
Tur actually had very little political reporting experience before she was assigned the Trump beat. She was working as a foreign correspondent in London when Turness picked her to cover Trump.
“By Election Day, I’ll have lived out of a suitcase for a year and a half, swearing by the lifesaving powers of dry shampoo and the magic ability of scarves to make the same coat look new. Following Trump to city after city, I’ve made more than 3,800 live television appearances and visited more than 40 states,” Tur wrote in an August Marie Claire piece. “I’ve also endured a gazillion loops of Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer,’ a staple of Trump’s rallies.”
3. Tur Has a Degree in Philosophy, not Communications or Journalism
Tur has a surprising education background for a journalist. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in philosophy, not journalism or communications.
“I graduated with a B.A. in philosophy and it was by far the best major I could have taken in college,” she told NBC News in June 2017. “A lot of people in this business take journalism as a major. Others take communications.”
Tur added that her education has helped her come up with questions quickly during interviews. “It allows me to ask questions, and that is what I do every day,” Tur told NBC. “It allowed me to do anything that I wanted to do. I wasn’t pigeon-holed to a certain subject.”
One other advantage of going to UC Santa Barbara: she’s “not completely drowning in debt today.”
4. Tur Is Engaged to CBS News Reporter Tony Dokoupil
Their engagement was announced in January on Politico. The couple got engaged in New York. “They celebrated with delicious food and cocktails Saturday evening reminiscing about their chance encounter in the makeup room at work that lead to their happily ever after,” Politico’s Alex Moe reported.
Dokoupil is also the author of The Last Pirate, a memoir about his experiences growing up in 1980s Miami… with a father who sold marijuana. As he explained to CBS News, Dokoupil didn’t learn about the truth about his estranged father until he noticed his father was indicted on drug trafficking charges. “Big Tony” Dokoupil spent time in jail and now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“I took it full-on, and I looked for the answer that I could live with, and I think I found it, which is he chose his life and I can choose mine,” Dokoupil told CBS News when asked what he learned from writing the book. “He had the talents that he was born with and he used them for the ends that he saw fit. And he loved it. And I can do the same.”
5. Tur’s Book About Her 2016 Campaign Experience Comes Out in September 2017
Tur signed a book deal with HarperCollins’ Dey Street Books imprint earlier this year. Her book, Unbelievable: My Front Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History, will be released on September 12, 2017.
“I’m going back and looking at all the various things that happened during the campaign trail and I’m finding very — the variety of interactions that we had over the 17 months,” Tur explained on Morning Joe in January. “And I keep finding over and over again, even at the tensest moments between me and the campaign reporting on leaks and reporting on holding [Trump] accountable for some of the things he said, behind the scenes when I would run into him he was overwhelmingly friendly, sometimes to a point where it took me aback.”
The New York Times reported in November, after the election, that Tur’s book was just one of many that publishers are rushing to get into bookstores to explain Trump’s win.
“As book publishers, we have a responsibility to take two steps back from the nowness of it all and find out what’s going to be relevant five years from now,” Julia Cheiffetz, executive editor of Dey Street Books, told the Times. “It’s one of the most extraordinary moments in American history.”