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Posts Tagged ‘Linda Mason’

47-Year CBS News Veteran Linda Mason Retiring

CBS News veteran Linda Mason–currently senior VP of standards and specials–is retiring, after 47 years with the company.

Inside CBS, Mason is regarded as a ground-breaker, who shattered the glass ceiling at the network in 1971, when she became the first female producer on the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.”

“There aren’t many people who have given so much of themselves to this organization,” wrote CBS news chairman Jeff Fager in an email to CBS staffers earlier this week.

Mason joined CBS in 1966 as a radio desk assistant, after a stint at The Providence Journal. She would work at WCBS and the “CBS Morning News” before joining the program anchored by Cronkite, and later Dan Rather. She eventually became EP of “CBS Sunday Morning” and of CBS’ weekend broadcasts before moving to special programming. She has also been the network’s representative to the  National Election Pool consortium.

As an executive, she led the internal investigation in 2000 that examined the mistakes in the network’s reporting of election night, and she was the CBS liaison on the 2004 report that looked into a piece on “60 Minutes Wednesday” about George W. Bush‘s National Guard service. She has held her current role since 2005.

She has also served as a mentor to staffers, particularly women, in a business that was once dominated by men.
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CBS News Doc Delivers The Body Scoop for Girls

GalleyCat covers last night‘s book party for CBS News medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton. The whole “Early Show” team was there: Maggie Rodriquez, Harry Smith and Dave Price, and the big bosses: Sean McManus, Paul Friedman, Barbara Fedida, Linda Mason, Rick Kaplan and David Friedman.

CBS Ladies Lunch for Erica Hill

HIll_1.25.jpgMichael’s Restaurant, New York’s media hangout, was the scene of a ladies lunch in honor of CBS Early Show newsreader and weekend anchor Erica Hill today.

In addition to Hill, Katie Couric was there, as was correspondent Dr. Debbye Turner Bell and executives Linda Mason, Kara Kasarjian, producer of the weekend edition and Mary Noonan, director of talent development for CBS.

The lunch was hosted by Barbara Fedida, VP of talent development for CBS News.

Friends, Colleagues, Presidents Remember Walter Cronkite

Cronkite_9.9.jpgThis morning TVNewser attended the public memorial service for Walter Cronkite at Lincoln Center in New York City. The service included remarks from close friends including Andy Rooney and Bob Schieffer as well as major public figures including President Barack Obama who did not know Cronkite, and former President Bill Clinton, who struck up a friendship with Cronkite during what Clinton called a “tumultuous time” during his presidency.

The event was as much a history lesson as it was a remembrance and tribute. As Sony Chairman and former CBS News researcher-turned producer-turned president Sir Howard Stringer put it, “The history of broadcast journalism is the history of Walter Cronkite.” But while Cronkite may represent a bygone era, the service also provided an opportunity for journalists to reflect on how Cronkite’s standards will survive the changing media landscape

• Full story and more photos after the jump.

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Gathering for the Funeral of Walter Cronkite


Les Moonves, Katie Couric and Sean McManus at St. Bartholomew church for the funeral for Walter Cronkite.

We’re keeping our eye on and the funeral service for Walter Cronkite which will begin at 2pmET. Already at St. Bartholomew in Midtown Manhattan we’ve spotted Bill Plante, Bob Schieffer, Aaron Brown, Maggie Rodriguez and Harry Smith; Steve Kroft chatting with Linda Mason, who was the first female producer on the Evening News and is now an SVP at CBS News. One pew in front of Mason is Katie Couric who is seated between CBS News & Sports president Sean McManus and CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves.

ABC News president David Westin arrived around 1:20pm and is sitting with Diane Sawyer.

Also, Connie Chung, actors Jerry Stiller and his wife Anne Meara. Brian Williams arrived on the church steps at 1:25 followed by Barbara Walters and Charlie Gibson arriving arm-in-arm at 1:27pm and Tom Brokaw and wife Meredith at 1:35pm. A few minutes later Andy Rooney arrived with his son, ABC News correspondent Brian Rooney. NBC News president Steve Capus, Dan Rather, Don Hewitt, former 60 Minutes correspondent-turned-NBC anchor Meredith Vieira also spotted.

Again, you can watch coverage of the service on


Brian Rooney and his father Andy Rooney arrive at St. Bartholomew Church

> 2:20pm: From Andy Rooney’s eulogy: “Walter was such a good friend. I can’t get over it… I just feel so terrible about Walter’s death I can hardly say anything. Please excuse me. Thank you.”

The cable news networks are dipping in to the funeral while NY1 in New York City is carrying the funeral live.

Click continued to see a list of some of the other tvnewsers in attendance, and more pictures from after service..

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How Cable News Covered the Death of Walter Cronkite

As the special report on CBS came to an end at 8:21pm, the cable news networks began their coverage of the death of Walter Cronkite.


• CNN’s Campbell Brown began continuing coverage at 8:18pm and included phone interviews with Don Hewitt, Susan Zirinksy and former CBS Newsman, now CNN anchor John Roberts. At 9pmET, John King in for Larry King, continued the coverage which included an interview with Katie Couric from her CBS News studio. CNN remained with live coverage at 10pm replacing an AC360 special about Pres. Obama in Africa. John King continued in the anchor chair talking with Bob Schieffer and Morley Safer by phone, and Susan Zirinksy, from the CBS studio during which she held up the script from the CBS Evening News the night Pres. Richard Nixon resigned. Cronkite had thrown it in the trash that night, and Zirinksy pulled it out and has kept it since.


• Anchor Jon Scott broke in to The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News at 8:19 and continued with live coverage until 10pm preempting Hannity. When Scott signed off just before 10, he said Fox was dedicating the Greta Van Sustern Apollo 11 special in memory of Waler Cronkite. Scott returned for updates during the special’s commercial breaks. Scott’s guests included Chris Wallace, Brit Hume, Barbara Walters and Linda Mason an SVP at CBS News who was Cronkite’s first female producer on the Evening News.


David Shuster, filling in on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, reported the news at 8:19 and returned live at 10pm to anchor. Rachel Maddow hosted her show at 9pm and was accompanied for most of the hour by Dan Rather, the man who replaced Cronkite on the CBS Evening News in 1981. Other guests included Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw.

CBS Statements on the Death of Walter Cronkite

Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports:

“It is impossible to imagine CBS News, journalism or indeed America without Walter Cronkite. More than just the best and most trusted anchor in history, he guided America through our crises, tragedies and also our victories and greatest moments. No matter what the news event was, Walter was always the consummate professional with an un-paralleled sense of compassion, integrity, humanity, warmth, and occasionally even humor. There will never be another figure in American history who will hold the position Walter held in our minds, our hearts and on the television. We were blessed to have this man in our lives and words cannot describe how much he will be missed by those of us at CBS News and by all of America.”

Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor, CBS Evening News, correspondent, 60 Minutes:

“When I think of Walter Cronkite, I think of his high journalism standards, integrity – but most of all his humanity. I think he was so trusted because he exhibited a sense of purpose and compassion, night after night. He was the personification of excellence.”

Don Hewitt, executive producer, CBS News, creator of 60 Minutes and Cronkite’s first executive producer on the CBS Evening News:

“How many news organizations get the chance to bask in the sunshine of a half-century of Edward R. Murrow followed by a half century of Walter Cronkite?”

Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes commentator:

“I’ve been proud over the years to see Walter become, not just one of the best known people on television but one of the best known people in the whole world of people. He was proud of me, too and there’s no better feeling in life than that. I wouldn’t trade Walter Cronkite liking me for just about anything I’ve ever had.”

Statements from Les Moonves, Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Rick Kaplan, Susan Zirinksy, Charles Osgood, and more…

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Walter Cronkite Gravely Ill


Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

TVNewser has learned legendary CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, 92, who once held the title of “Most Trusted Man in America,” is gravely ill, according to multiple CBS News sources. The network began updating his obituary more than a week ago, a source adds.

CBS News executive Linda Mason, designated to speak on Cronkite’s behalf, had no comment.

The avuncular Cronkite anchored “CBS Evening News” for 19 years, until 1981, when he was forced to retire. Dan Rather was named his successor. Cronkite maintained an office at CBS, where he was a special correspondent.

A native of St. Joseph, Mo., Cronkite made his mark as a World War II correspondent for United Press. He joined CBS in 1950 as a Washington correspondent. In 1962, he was named anchor of “CBS Evening News,” then 15 minutes in length. The following year, it became network TV’s first 30′minute weeknight newscast.

Cronkite’s nightly sign-off — “And that’s the way it is…” – became part of the popular lexicon, and his gravelly voice was instantly recognizable. During his tenure, he led “Evening News” to first place in the Nielsen ratings.

Cronkite returned to “Evening News,” in a manner of speaking, in September 2006, when he recorded the opening to the newscast with new anchor Katie Couric.

In an interview with this reporter in 2006, Cronkite was asked if he ever thought about death.

“When you get to be 89, you have to think about it a little bit. It doesn’t prey on me, and it doesn’t keep me awake nights. Occasionally, when I’m upset about something else, I think, ‘My gosh, I don’t know if I should do this or that because I’m not sure I’ll be here that long to enjoy it.’”

CBS News Eyes Late Election Night, No Matter What


CBS News and Sports president Sean McManu (standing) and Evening News EP Rick Kaplan (seated, third from right) in the control room.

After a stop at ABC News’ Times Square studios, we made our way uptown to West 57th Street and CBS News HQ. Katie Couric, anchoring general election campaign coverage for the first time, was joined on the set by Bob Schieffer, Jeff Greenfield, Sharyl Atkisson and Byron Pitts.

Couric’s Evening News EP, Rick Kaplan was the quarterback of tonight’s coverage. Also in the control room: CBS News & Sports president Sean McManus, SVP Paul Friedman and (no pressure) CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves. For a control room on an election night, it was remarkably quiet and calm. But then, it was early.

Back in the newsroom, political analysts Dee Dee Myers and Dan Bartlett appeared from a remote camera on one side of the newsroom (video below), while Armen Keteyian was on the other side reporting on any voting irregularities.

It will be a long night for Couric & Co. They will be staying for the Webcast on and beginning at 2amET.

After the jump, the decision desk, and see who else we spotted in the control room…

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Fired CBS Producer Talks About $50M Suit

In an interview this afternoon with TVNewser, fired CBS News Producer Dick Jefferson says his dismissal was like “being kicked out of your family.” Jefferson, an 18-year veteran of the network is suing CBS for $50 million, and naming Senior VP Linda Mason in the suit.

He was let go Nov. 20, 2006 for what he calls a “fraudulent performance issue.”

Jefferson and a co-worker, Ryan Smith, were severely injured in a gay-bashing attack on the island of St. Martin in April 2006.jefferson.jpg

CBS responded to the suit calling it a “vicious and unconscionable attack on Mason’s character.” Jefferson says he “would be glad to call as witnesses every correspondent and anchor, past and present” should the case go to trial.

Jefferson claims he was unduly fired for bringing too much unwanted attention to his case. In the days after the attack, he appeared on “Good Morning America”, MSNBC and Viacom’s gay-themed channel Logo.

When asked about CBS News paying thousands of dollars to airlift Jefferson and Smith from their vacation to receive proper treatment, Jefferson says “I am very grateful, Ryan owes his life to that decision” but that’s “not what this is about, this is about Linda (who Jefferson calls a mentor) saying it’s my job to protect CBS News.”

“I tried to explain to Sean (McManus, President of CBS News & Sports) that the lawsuit is not my personal vendetta against the company, they are family, it was really weird, like being kicked out of your family.”

Ryan Smith still works with CBS News at its newsmagazine “48 Hours.”