OLD Media Moves

CBS News business correspondent discusses job

January 18, 2007

Anthony Mason, the CBS News business correspondent, talked about how he does his job with Public Eye, the network’s ombudsman web site.

Anthony MasonAmong other topics, Mason talked about his lack of business experience before he become the correspondent in 1998 and how difficult it is to present business stories on television.

Mason said, “Part of the reason I took this beat was because I considered doing business news on TV a real challenge, because a lot of times you’re dealing with numbers, and numbers by their very nature are not visual. And we’re in a visual medium. And obviously stories that have pictures lend themselves to television more. And some of them are really hard to translate. You end up just doing one graphic after another. Which, while it works in terms of explaining the story is not particularly compelling or certainly very visual.

“So it’s a real challenge. There are only so many ways you can do certain kinds of business stories. Stock market stories. I’ve pushed to try to find every way I can to use a picture, and I hope they never take the human beings off the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, which they might do – that’s going to make it even harder to make it look like anything. And in the end, that’s part of our job – to tell a visual story.”

Later, he added, “But my job essentially is to take business stories and relate them to ordinary folks who have no business knowledge and…it helps sometimes to be ignorant, because you ask, as we like to say, the stupid questions…You ask questions that people who don’t know anything would ask, and you can bring it down to their level more easily.”

Read more here.

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