The Morning Meeting

As advertised, Public Eye brings you inside the major editorial meeting at CBS News, otherwise known as "The 10:30." Directed by CBS News President Andrew Heyward, this is where CBS executives and producers discuss the news you'll see tonight, tomorrow and into the near future.

But first, a couple things you should know. The 10:30 is not the beginning of the editorial day — not by a long shot. Even before this meeting, many smaller meetings and discussions have gone on between news executives and various shows and producers. And it's not the end of the process. Throughout the day, stories may develop, news may break out and plans adjusted. This is the one place where senior people from different shows and sectors physically gather in one room, go over the big picture, and hear arguments and pitches.

Secondly, the mere fact that we were allowed into the meeting — let alone with a video camera — should not be taken lightly. Frankly, it's a huge step. Not many news organizations have let in the light like this.

Editorial meetings such as this at any news organization are, by definition, private and proprietary affairs. Colleagues need to be able to be open, honest, irreverent and cantankerous. It is a key place where arguments over coverage take place — perhaps the most important venue for them. The presence of a camera is going to change behavior regardless of the situation and may have altered it here to some extent. But the basic decision-making process must go on, and it did.

Finally, our preference is always to provide an unvarnished version of what we present on PE. However, there are a few acceptable ground rules we are willing to abide by. One is that we not reveal information about editorial decisions that may put CBS News at a competitive disadvantage or speak to sensitive internal company issues (having to do with personnel, for just one example). Following that, this video has been edited to remove such information — and only to remove such information. Today we had to take out three little snippets, but I was in the meeting the whole time.

There were no bombshells in today's meeting but we think it is a revealing look at the process in the CBS newsroom — one that is repeated in media organizations everywhere in one way or another. Part of our mission is to provide a level of transparency into the news process, and this is but one small step toward fulfilling that. Many more will follow.

Take a look.
  • Vaughn Ververs

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