NBC News, Shriver to Mull Job

Maria Shriver (search) will huddle soon with NBC News executives to decide how her job as a correspondent will change now that she's about to become California's first lady.

Shriver, who works primarily for "Dateline NBC," was on an unpaid leave of absence during the campaign, where she stumped with husband Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) and defended him against allegations that he had groped other women.

"She's not going to report on California politics nor anything that a Governor Schwarzenegger might have to make a ruling on," NBC News President Neal Shapiro said Wednesday.

Shapiro declined to comment on whether Shriver would have to give up all political reporting, saying he wanted to speak to her about it first.

He said he was confident that Shriver wouldn't do anything to put NBC News in a difficult ethical position, noting she has dealt with these issues in the past. Shriver, a niece of former President John F. Kennedy (search), has avoided stories that involve the Kennedy family.

"She's an experienced and talented and hardworking journalist," Shapiro said. "I see no reason why her career should be wiped away because her husband has a career in public life."

Broadcasters, and particularly NBC News, have dealt with these issues before. NBC's foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, is married to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan (search).

Marvin Kalb, a former television journalist and senior fellow at Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, said he initially believed Shriver would have no problem heading back to NBC when it appeared she wouldn't take an active role in the campaign.

But she did campaign, and was pictured celebrating his victory beside her husband on the front page of many newspapers on Wednesday morning, he said.

"It seems to me that both the network and Maria Shriver have to think long and hard about whether she can be perceived by viewers as an impartial journalist," Kalb said.

He acknowledged that NBC might look bad to some observers if it cut ties with a professional woman because of her husband.

"I can see the image problem for NBC in both directions, whether they cut her or keep her," he said.

Shriver's agent, Richard Liebner, said Wednesday he hadn't spoken with his client for nearly two weeks but that "her plan has always been to go back to work and I'm certain that she will."

"Her journalism spoke for itself in the past and will speak for itself in the future," Liebner said.

Besides reporting stories for "Dateline NBC," Shriver has served as a substitute anchor for that broadcast. She also has filled in for Katie Couric (search) on the "Today" show.

She covered the 2000 political conventions for NBC News. This year, she has done stories on a Botox lawsuit in California, musician Celine Dion and the Scott Peterson and Robert Blake criminal cases. She also did stories during the Iraq war on public opinion in the United States.

Shapiro said he wasn't sure whether Shriver, who now lives in Los Angeles, would continue to be based there or in Sacramento.