Can Broadcast Legend Susan Zirinsky Save CBS NEWS?
(Illustration By Michael Hoeweller)
July 27, 2019
Susan Zirinsky, 67, the new president of CBS News, was in her office at the CBS Broadcast Center recently rummaging through her illustrious past, which happens to constitute a rich history of broadcast journalism, and the world itself. There’s a poster-size photo of Tank Man in Tiananmen Square, where Zirinsky oversaw the coverage when CBS had the only live broadcast of the protests by a major network. On a console, there was Dan Rather’s typewriter from the White House. Framed on the wall, Edward R. Murrow’s coat hanger. Zirinsky crouched down and pulled out an ancient manila folder from a filing drawer. Inside was Walter Cronkite’s original Evening Newsscript from the night of Richard Nixon’s resignation. “He tossed it in the trash,” she said, “so I just took it out.”
Zirinsky, aka “Z,” who’s been at CBS since Watergate, ascended to her job after a period of radical discontinuity. In less than 12 months, a cascade of #MeToo scandals brought down CBS titans Les Moonves, Jeff Fager, and Charlie Rose. Zirinsky had worked alongside Moonves and Fager for years. She considered them friends. “I felt sad. Those weren’t the people I knew,” she said, adding that she hasn’t talked to them since. Can those relationships be repaired? Zirinsky paused, carefully considering her response. “I think it’s difficult.”
Read More HERE