CBS has a unique way of mentoring young TV news hopefuls, and increasing diversity in its newsroom at the same time. Its Eye on the Future program features high school students from what CBS calls underserved communities—juniors and seniors getting hands-on experience in the newsroom. Ten students are taking part this year, across eight Saturdays in the fall.
Over 20 CBS News employees teach them what they know.
The volunteers are “entry level to executives,” said Kim Godwin, VP of news and executive director of diversity initiatives and staff development. “What’s so exciting about the program is, it gets people interested in our profession.”
The program’s syllabus is constantly evolving, said Godwin, and this year features social media.
The students were to meet Oct. 27 at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York, the schedule calling for shooting in the field, gathering video elements and social media. But a pending nor’easter means the students have the day off.
“Hopefully next week we can do that,” said Godwin.
She said the volunteers, who have included CBS This Morning Saturday co-host Michelle Miller and CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers, learn almost as much as the students. “The kids teach us what is going on out there, and how they would approach something,” Godwin said. “It’s definitely a learning process for us.”
Other cornerstones in the CBS News learning process are a Fellowship program that sees six students get a fully paid internship, including housing, for the summer, and the Wisdom Series, where speakers from the CBS News ranks pass along what they’ve learned in their years in the business. A half dozen of the Fellowship interns are now on staff, said Godwin. Recent speakers in Wisdom Series include Jane Pauley, CBS Sunday Morning anchor, and Major Garrett, CBS News chief White House correspondent, sharing about his book Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride.
“Employees can see how someone else navigated the system,” said Godwin.
The programs get a greater variety of voices to the table in the newsroom. “We’re growing the next generation of journalists,” Godwin said.