Q & A with Marc Lieberman of 60 Minutes on CBS News
Lieberman reflects on his time as a producer at 60 Minutes, discusses his path from Duke to professional journalism, and offers advice for students interested in the field.
Marc Lieberman ’92 is a producer for 60 Minutes on CBS News
He is a member of DukeJournos, a network to create debate, dialogue, and productive connections among Duke alumni journalists.
Q: You have covered quite the array of major news stories. Do you have one you are most proud of? Why?
A: It’s hard to single out a particular one but I am generally proud of stories that have an impact or make news. I produced a story about the mass shooting in Las Vegas that featured the first interview with police officers who stormed the gunman’s hotel suite. We revealed new information about the shooter’s meticulous planning and how the Las Vegas police response was guided by lessons learned from a terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. The story was widely quoted in the days after it aired. I am also proud of a recent story about the wildfire that razed Paradise, California. 60 Minutes stories usually take months to research and report. We reported, shot, and put together the story in less than two weeks. Despite the quick turnaround, the finished product looked as polished as any story on our show.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to work in journalism? If not, what drew you to it?
A: I did not get interested in journalism as a career until the summer after my sophomore year. At the time, I was an intern for the investigative staff of a U.S. Senate committee. I often had to go back and forth between the committee office and the committee chairman’s office. In my travels, I saw reporters in the hallways questioning senators about the progress of legislation or the latest news of the day. I always stopped to listen and thought it would be interesting to cover the news. I decided to try for an internship in journalism the next summer and I was lucky enough to land one at CBS News.
Q: Are there any misconceptions about journalism that bother you?
A: I think some people have strong, sometimes unfair opinions about journalists and the media these days. In my career, the journalists I’ve worked with have been committed to telling important stories grounded in fact based reporting.
Q: Do you have any major “do’s and don’t’s” for young Duke alumni looking to get into this business?
A: I would offer two pieces of advice. 1) Be persistent. Journalists are often overworked and under deadline. If you don’t hear back from someone you’ve reached out to, keep trying. 2) Do your homework. If you want to work for a particular show or news outlet, immerse yourself in the product. Read or watch everything you can so you’re an expert by the time you make contact.