CBS News president steps down, replaced by veteran producer

Acting CBS chief Joseph Ianniello says Rhodes had decided to move on after eight years with the news division. (Shutterstock)
Updated 07 January 2019
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CBS News president steps down, replaced by veteran producer

  • CBS has seen its morning news anchor, Charlie Rose, and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager both lose their jobs following misconduct issues in the past years
  • Acting CBS chief Joseph Ianniello says Rhodes had decided to move on after eight years with the news division

NEW YORK: CBS says its news division president, David Rhodes, is stepping down following a troubled year that saw morning anchor Charlie Rose and the top executive at “60 Minutes” lose their jobs following misconduct reports and ratings issues at its top shows.
Veteran news producer Susan Zirinsky, who started work at CBS in the Washington bureau as a 20-year-old in the early 1970s and is currently the executive producer at “48 Hours,” will take over as news president.
“It’s a very humbling and daunting role,” said Zirinsky, 66, in an interview Sunday. “When you’ve been working someplace for 40 years, it’s a moment.”
Rhodes will stay on his job until March 1 and continue to work as an adviser to CBS News, said interim CBS Corp. leader Joseph Ianniello.
In a memo to his staff, Rhodes said Sunday that “the new year is a time for renewal, for new goals. The world we cover is changing, how we cover it is changing — and it’s the right time for me to make a change too.”
Rhodes came to CBS News from Fox News Channel and, together with former CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, saw success in emphasizing a newsier approach than its rivals. The launch of “CBS This Morning” with Rose, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell was a particular success.
But last fall, Rose was abruptly fired following reports of improper behavior involving female staffers at CBS News. The show’s ratings have taken a tumble since then, and that show’s executive producer recently exited.
Rhodes last fall also had to oust his former partner, Fager, who had returned to his original job as executive producer of “60 Minutes.” Fager had sent a message regarded as threatening to a CBS reporter who was working on a story about alleged bad behavior at the show and by Fager.
“It was a cultural shift in the country and CBS had a piece of it, no doubt about it,” Zirinsky said. “But we’ve taken it head-on.”
Rhodes’ decision to appoint Jeff Glor as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” has not succeeded in the ratings.
Besides finding a new leader at “CBS This Morning,” Zirinsky will be charged with appointing a new executive producer at “60 Minutes,” television’s most popular and influential news program. Bill Owens has been the interim leader and he was considered a top candidate for the job, along with Zirinsky.
Rhodes’ decision to appoint Jeff Glor as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” has not succeeded in the ratings.
The CBS Network itself has faced tumult with the ouster of its Les Moonves late last year due to sexual misconduct allegations against him.


Despite setbacks, Arab summit at media forefront

Updated 20 January 2019
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Despite setbacks, Arab summit at media forefront

  • Japanese journalist says they have to cover the summit because the Mideast region is too important for Japan
  • TV, print and radio journalists were given the necessary equipment and space to allow constant reporting of the summit’s opening remarks

BEIRUT: Journalists from across the world gathered in Lebanon’s Beirut Waterfront to cover the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit on Sunday despite the tumultuous days leading up to the event.

It was not just Arab and Middle Eastern journalists who were present at the summit’s official media center; reporters from Japan, Europe and the US were also in attendance. 

There were conflicting reports on the number of journalists attending, ranging from 600 to double that. The summit’s official spokesman Dany Najim said 1,200 journalists covered the event. 

In addition to journalists working with news organizations and institutions were those traveling as part of country delegations. 

The Arab League sent 11 journalists, while official numbers put an average of 10 journalists per delegation. 

“We must cover the summit. The region is very important to us. It’s where we buy oil and gas,” said a Japanese journalist.

TV, print and radio journalists were given the necessary equipment and space to allow constant reporting of the summit’s opening remarks. While they were placed in a hall adjacent to the main summit meeting room, two large screens were continuously airing the summit’s activities and talks.

Rigid security protocols were in place for the safety of attending delegations. Roads starting from Beirut’s Phoenicia Hotel in Minet Al-Hosn district all the way to Al-Nahar newspaper’s offices in Martyrs’ Square were closed as part of a security zone. 

Transportation of journalists was organized by the summit, where a bus was available round the clock to pick them up and take them to the Monroe Hotel — the media hub for the summit — in Minet Al-Hosn, before taking another bus to the Beirut Waterfront.

Several stores and restaurants were forced to shut for the days of the summit, while some issued mass text messages to the public to announce that they will stay open.

This is the fourth Arab Economic and Social Development Summit. The previous ones were hosted by Kuwait in 2009, Egypt in 2011, and Saudi Arabia in 2013.