You might recognize Maureen Cashin (also known as Mo) from her appearance on First Look over at Couric & Co., a few weeks back. Most of the time, though, she's a fixture behind the scenes, as the broadcast manager of the "Evening News." She's been at CBS News for nearly 25 years, working everywhere from the payroll department to "60 Minutes." She joined the "Evening News" back in January as the broadcast manager and this week, she answered our questions about working at CBS News. Read on to learn more about what it's like to be the "go-to person" at the "Evening News."
What do you do at CBS News?
I am the Broadcast Manager for the CBS "Evening News with Katie Couric," which means I wear many hats. Every day is different, which is one of the things I love about my job. I try to be the person in the newsroom who people can come to with their questions and hopefully I will have the right answer–the "Go-to Person."What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?
Since I have worked at CBS for a number of years, I am fortunate to know many people in many different departments, which helps when you need to get things done.
I also try to make a personal connection with the people I work with. I think it's really important to know more about a person than what they are eating for lunch each day. I have a wonderful full life outside of CBS and I love to share stories about my very large family.
I think it's also very important to mentor the younger staff (and boy are they young) I feel like a dinosaur!!!!!!!!!!!!
Health and women's issues.Give us a great behind the scenes story.
Well, I have quite a few, having been at CBS for almost 26 years. One of the most recent happened on the night Katie Couric had her debut as the new anchor of the CBS "Evening News"… as you can imagine the build up to the first night was extremely intense for everyone involved with the show and at CBS News.Have you ever been assigned a story you objected to? How did you deal with it?
During the weeks leading up to the debut, we had many, many rehearsals in the new studio. One day while Katie was rehearsing at the anchor desk, I mentioned that we were going to have a champagne toast after the first broadcast, Katie said, "I think I'll need a martini." I said to myself, "I need to remember to get her a martini."
Well, the day came and as you can imagine the newsroom was buzzing with all kinds of people and activity. The show started and we all held our breath -- yeah we're finally here, all the hard work and planning is really happening. The studio was packed with CBS employees and visitors, all the top executives were in the fishbowl watching the show. You could feel the excitement in the air. I was so proud to be part of the most important day at CBS.
After the show we were all ready to toast Katie with a glass of champagne. Everyone had a glass in their hands ready to toast. Katie was looking for a glass … well, just as she was reaching for a glass, I said to her, "how 'bout a martini?" I placed a martini glass on the desk and poured her one from a shaker. Katie laughed and said, "that's exactly what I need." She took the glass held it up, we toasted her and she toasted all of us in the newsroom. It was great because it was so NOT "rehearsed" and so spontaneous.
No, not really. The only time I felt uncomfortable about a story was after 9/11.If you were not in news, what would you be doing?
My husband was, and still is, a Captain in the New York City Fire Department, and two of my husband's brothers are also on the "job." So, while we were all scrambling to do stories after the event, I was dubbed the "fire department person" because I knew so many of the people involved. It was so difficult to talk to the families and the fireman. All I could think every time I talked to them was, this could have been me and my family.
Hard to say, I love my job so much and I have been so fortunate to have had some of the best jobs at CBS News … so I guess if I were not in news, I would be cleaning out my garage.
Do you read blogs? If so, which ones? If not, what do you read on the Internet?
Couric & Co.What's the last really great book or movie you found?
I loved "Walk the Line."What is your first memory of TV news?
JFK shooting in Dallas.If you could change one thing about the profession of journalism, what would it be?
It's not so much a change, but I would like the younger people coming into this profession to have more of a base of knowledge other than the last five to ten years … they don't' seem to know or want to know what some of the great events of our time are. And one more thing--patience.Who is the most fascinating person you've covered and who is the biggest jerk?
I was at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan working for "Morning News."Finally, a question just for Mo: Do ratings fluctuations really or even superficially affect staff morale or the approach to editorial decision-making? What do ratings truly mean for the people who run the program?
We were interviewing a 95 year old woman and her family who owed the oldest kimono shop in Nagano. It was just so fascinating to see this family, so many generations (grandmother/daughter and several granddaughters) working together. They were so proud of the kimonos they had made for so many of the women (especially the new brides) in their community. I think they all got a good laugh when I tried one on.
It was so nice to see a family so proud and respectful of their elders.
The biggest jerk....oh boy, too many to mention.
Clearly, being number one makes everyone feel confident and very comfortable in their job. I cannot comment on the approach to editorial decision making.