"I think everybody was pretty much involved in the story this time around, the press in general came under fire from all directions," Natalie Morales says of the election cycle leading to Donald Trump's presidency

By Becky Randel
January 19, 2017 12:35 PM
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For Natalie Morales and her colleagues in the media industry, the most recent election cycle hit closer to home than she could have ever imagined.

“It’s been a long and trying process for a lot of us,” the Today anchor acknowledges of the months leading up to Donald Trump‘s election, “but I do think coming out of it you have a much stronger press in general.”

Referencing the scandal surrounding her former colleague Billy Bush and the eventual President-elect, Morales told PEOPLE Wednesday night at the National Association of Television Producing Executives’ 14th Annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards: “You never want to be the subject matter of the story.”

She continued, “I think everybody was pretty much involved in the story this time around, the press in general came under fire from all directions.”

Now, with Trump on the eve of his inauguration, Morales said it’s an opportunity to take stock. “I think we’ve all learned from the process over the last two years because it took two years to elect this president,” she said. “It’s going to be interesting how things move on from here.”

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Morales remained circumspect when addressing Trump’s penchant for questioning the media, saying, “I think now more than ever, where you have our President who is saying, ‘That’s fake news,’ you have to look back and say, ‘Well, where are these sources coming from?’ Of course, as objective media you are supposed to do your job and fact-check, but so often I do find that sometimes headlines are just picked up and taken as fact, and they are repeated and stories are repeated, and as somebody who has been in this business for 20 years, you know where the truth lies — somewhere in between. And sometimes the headlines are not the — well, they’re never the full story.”

Moving forward, she suggested that reporters “have learned we have to go back to journalism 101 and triple-sourcing your stories.”

Morales, 44, also saw a silver lining in the widespread boycott (both celebrity and political) of Trump’s inauguration, offering that making the event less of a spectacle could allow those covering it to “get a little more to the heart of the matter.”