Anchoring the CBS Evening News

Anchoring the CBS Evening News
Scott Pelley

NAME: Scott Pelley |  AGE: 54 |  HOMETOWN: Lubbock |  QUALIFICATIONS: Joined CBS News as a reporter in 1989 / Became a correspondent for 60 Minutes in 2004 / Named 
anchor and managing editor of the Evening News in May / Has 
won fourteen national Emmys and five Edward R. Murrow awards

● My career in pursuit of the truth began 
with a lie. I became a copyboy at the Lubbock 
Avalanche-Journal when I was fifteen, but they only hired kids who were sixteen. I took care 
of that problem and informed them that I was 
indeed sixteen. I got out of Coronado High School at two-thirty in the afternoon, and my mother drove me to the paper. She dropped me off two blocks away so nobody could see I wasn’t driving.

● While I was a student at Texas Tech, 
I went to work at Channel 28, which was literally 
in the middle of a cotton field. I produced the 
ten o’clock news, I shot all the film of the news, 
and I did radio on the weekends.

● I have been a reporter for a very long time, but I’ve never anchored a news program. So we’re still in the anchorman training phase. I am learning things every day, and to borrow a phrase from horseback riding, I’m starting to find my seat.

● The most important thing is for the audience 
to say at the end of the broadcast, “You know 
what, that was worth my time. I learned things, 
and I’m going to come back for more tomorrow.”

● In a sense, the anchor portion of my job is the least important thing I do. This is a thirteen-hour day. I come in the door at 8:45 in the morning, and my senior staff is already here. We all get together and start talking about what we’re going to cover, how we’re going to cover it, and who we’re going 
to assign it to. I have discovered that if you get the first twelve and a half hours of the day right, then the last half hour tends to work out pretty well.

● Every single script at the 
 Evening News passes through 
my hands. We used to say at 
 60 Minutes, “There’s no such 
thing as good writing. There’s 
only good rewriting.”

● At 60 Minutes , we work on 
stories and work on them and 
then work on them some more. 
We don’t put them on the air until they’re ready. At the Evening News, however, six-thirty seems to come around pretty regularly.

● I cannot tell you how important 
Walter Cronkite’s legacy is to all of us 
here at CBS News. He walks these halls. 
We talk about him every day. We ask 
the question “What would Walter do?”

● When I travel around the country, 
people tell me that they are tired of the 
shouting on television, the veiled opinions that pass for news on the cable channels, 
and all the sketchy information on the 
Internet. They are looking for a brand 
that tells the news, tells it straight, and 
takes the audience seriously. I think 
that’s lacking in the marketplace, and 
it’s a great opportunity for us.

● Being an anchor is a humbling 
experience. You feel a little bit 
small in that chair.

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