Norah O’Donnell, the incoming anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News,” told the staff at CBS owned and operated station KCBS-TV that the flagship CBS News broadcast will focus on original reporting that strikes to the heart of issues that matter to viewers and connect with them in new ways.
“We are in a transformative time in the news business,” O’Donnell said. “Most of us are getting the headlines by our phone all day, so by 6:30, our mission should be to provide context. Our audience is craving depth and analysis.”
O’Donnell on May 6 was named anchor of the “CBS Evening News” by Susan Zirinsky, president and senior executive producer of CBS News. She will begin anchoring the broadcast in New York this summer and the “CBS Evening News” will move to its new home in Washington, D.C., in the fall.
O’Donnell was in Los Angeles Wednesday following her exclusive interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook. Before taking the anchor chair, O’Donnell has already established a reputation as a trusted voice, scoring big, headline-making interviews. The sit-down with Cook follows O’Donnell’s interview last week with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg.
“That comes from trust,” she said of the decision by newsmakers to talk with CBS News.
O’Donnell also wants to expand the broadcast’s breadth of the reporting. Her family experiences and more than two decades covering the world will inform the journalism delivered every evening.
“I’m a mom of three young kids,” she said. “I’m from a military family. So, I want to do the stories that affect families and how we raise our kids. Our goal is not just to tell viewers what happened but why. We want to tell the viewer something they don’t know.”
She said CBS affiliates like KCBS-TV are essential to reaching viewers on all screens.
“We need you. We want to win with you,” O’Donnell told the KCBS staffers. “We cannot produce the broadcast of record without you.”
O’Donnell spent time with KCBS Vice President and news director Tara Finestone and the entire KCBS team of producers and reporters. She also recorded promos and taped an interview with KCBS anchors Pat Harvey and Jeff Michael.
While in Los Angeles, O’Donnell also visited with colleagues at the CBS News bureau, where she told them one of her priorities will be to evolve the Evening News format to attract new viewers and continue the unrivaled storytelling and original reporting and issues-based reporting that are hallmarks of CBS News.
“I think at CBS News we do that better than anyone else,” O’Donnell said.