Reporter Chelsea Clinton? Time will tell

In this image released by NBC, host Brian

In this image released by NBC, host Brian Williams, left, interviews Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton, on "Rock Center with Brian Williams." (Credit: AP)

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The good or the not-quite-so-good news on Chelsea Clinton's (for her anyway) counterintuitive role as a reporter on NBC News? Agreed. Let's start with the good first.

Clinton, whose first appearance as an NBC News contributor aired Monday night on "NBC Nightly News" and "Rock Center with Brian Williams," seems like a very nice young woman. She is obviously bright, although we already suspected she was that as well.

Otherwise, there was nothing else that necessarily dismissed charges (mostly by TV critics, although they were not alone) that she got this job because of that name. Her voice -- the first time most of us have even heard it -- was pleasing and plummy, but monochromatic; in the obligatory crosstalk with Williams following her report on Arkansas social worker Annette Dove, she exhibited the spontaneity of any TV rookie.

And then, she spoke of her grandmother Dorothy Rodham, who died in November. The voice warmed. A relatable human being emerged. "I'm really grateful to be here, and for most of my life I did deliberately lead a private life," she said. Her grandmother exhorted her to "lead a more publicly purposeful life. I hope to make her proud."

Work out the kinks. Master the craft. Learn what it really means to be a reporter. Hopefully, in time, she will.