NEW YORK - While editing his next installment of On the Road, CBS correspondent Steve Hartman answered viewers' questions on Facebook.
Tune in tonight to see the next installment of "On the Road" as Steve Hartman talks with members of the basketball team who played against Lauren Hill and her Mount Saint Joseph University last weekend.
Question - What has been the most difficult question to ask Lauren?
Steve Hartman - Lauren has a very specific, rare form of brain cancer. No one has ever been cured and no one ever will unless more research is done. Which is why Lauren is so devoted to promoting her favorite charity called "The Cure Starts Now."
Question - How do you find the topic for each story? Do the individuals featured reach out or do you do a lot of research in order to find the topic?
Steve Hartman - I have a producer who helps me find stories. I wish more people would write in and suggest things. I usually don't like stories where people suggest themselves, for obvious reasons. If you really think you're newsworthy, get someone else to write the note!
(By the way, to contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, e-mail us.)
Question - Some of the stories you tell are heartbreaking... has someone's story ever made you get emotional while you were interviewing them? I guess I'm asking if you've ever cried on the job.
Steve Hartman - I used to tell young reporters that tears make for good television, but only if they're yours. In other words, it's hard to tell a good story if you don't feel it yourself. Sometimes I cry on a story, and sometimes I cry when I'm writing it. The older I get the more blubbery I get.
Question - How difficult was it to convince news directors to allow you to work strictly on feature stories?
Steve Hartman - From my very first day on the job in Toledo, Ohio, while all the other reporters were competing for the lead story, I wanted to be at the end. I just like leaving people with something memorable. Of course, in those days I had to cover all kinds of things, but I always kept coming back to features and eventually made it my job exclusively.
Question - Steve, have you ever considered writing a book?
Steve Hartman - Yes, I actually had a deal with Simon and Schuster. I got an advance and everything, but I returned the money. I decided I didn't want to take the time to write a book. I enjoy my time with my children too much.
Question - How big is your crew, you and a photographer? Or do you have sound people, producers etc. with you?
Steve Hartman- I have a crew, if you can call it that. I have a producer, who finds the stories, and a cameraman who shoots them. No sound man, no publicist, just me. I like it that way. When you're going into someone's house, you're usually more well-received if you don't stain the carpet with a whole lot of footprints.
Question -I've always wanted to know -- how much time do you typically spend writing each piece? Also, how much input are you getting from others, producers, etc.? How many people are involved in the writing process?
Steve Hartman - I don't spend much time writing the pieces but I spend a lot of time rewriting them. I get really picky about the words I choose because I value your time and I want the stories to be as impactful as possible. I get a lot of help producing the stories, but the writing is mostly me.
Question - How did you come to do "On the Road," what was the genesis of it?
Steve Hartman - I didn't start "On The Road." It was started in 1967 by Charles Kuralt. He was perhaps the best feature reporter CBS has ever known. When he died, the segment went away, until a few years ago when CBS offered it to me. It was the best compliment my bosses have ever given me. Better than a raise. Not really.
Question - You do a lot of the editing? Looks like you have a nice set up. What program do you use to edit?
Steve Hartman - To the best of my knowledge, I was the first network correspondent to edit his/her own stories. CBS allows me to edit from home which makes up for the fact that I am gone about three days a week from my kids. As for the program that I use, it's Avid.
Question - The Lauren Hill story brought tears to my eyes and I loved that she made the basket! Steve, I can clearly see how much you connect with the people whose stories you tell. Because you have such a deep connection, it brings the audience even closer to the story, thank you! Is it difficult to then leave a particular person, to leave the story behind? Does it always stay with you? And how do you adjust to move on to the next story?
Steve Hartman - I have people that I've grown very fond of. I consider Chris Rosati a dear friend. He's the guy with ALS who wanted to steal the doughnut truck. I would see him every day if I could. I have other people I did stories on years ago and I'm still close to them too. Then there are those I hope to never see again, but fortunately not many. Hey, I'm human.