Chris Licht, the executive producer of “CBS This Morning” spoke to students Thursday in Buckman Theater about his experience as an executive producer.
Licht has been the executive producer of “CBS this Morning” since the show was introduced in January of 2012. CBS originally aired “The Early Show,” which was similar to ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today,” but they wanted to produce something different.
Licht said there was no need for so many morning shows that were so similar. CBS wanted to produce something they would be proud of. Licht said the previous show “didn’t fit what the network represented.”
When Licht took over in 2012, he brought a new approach to the show.
“I like morning news because you get the first pick to decide what is important,” Licht said.
One aspect of his show that differs from most is the 90-second segment at the beginning of the show gives a preview of everything “CBS This Morning” would cover in the two-hour show each morning.
During his presentation to students, Licht spoke a great deal of the benefits of knowing how to write well. Licht said writing is an important skill. He said he spends a lot of time editing his co-workers’ writing; something he says he should not need to do so often.
“If you enter a TV station and you can write, it will open up doors,” Licht said. He admits that he made writing mistakes in his first job that definitely held him back.
Licht said there are plenty of jobs currently in the field of broadcast journalism if people know how to write clearly and concisely. He said there have been positions open at CBS for more than six months because the network has become more selective in the people they hire.
Licht suggests students in communications do internships with large networks rather than small news stations. He feels that students get the experience of creating packages and going on air in their classes, but the networking that students will do at larger networks will benefit them in the long run. Licht said although students may not be able to do as much, they can make sure they are remembered by important people in the business whose recommendations will be significant.
“If you are an intern who was not remembered, then there was no point of your internship,” Licht said.
In addition to jobs and internships, Licht spoke of social media in communications. He said social media has been a large aspect to his job and the field in general.
Licht said social media forces news networks to get news out faster than ever before and present it accurately. Social media has both negative and positive aspects according to Licht because through social media stories can be found very quickly. The production of news has changed through social media and delivery from the networks. On the contrary, reporters and producers have to be careful with what they are posting because any one post could have a dramatic effect on the network.
More people use social media each year. According to Facebook, it had 500 million users in July 2010 and reached 1.1 billion users in March 2013. News networks will have to change to keep up with social media according to Licht.
“You’re going to see developments in delivery,” Licht said. “Not change in what is covered or how it’s covered. I think you’re going to see better ways to deliver it to more people. More on the viewer’s timetable.”
Social media has become applicable to people because it reaches out to them, and is available 24/7. Now news networks are forced to make that connection with its viewers as well.
Andrew Badillo, a freshman broadcast journalism major, enjoyed Licht’s lecture.
“I thought it was great,” Badillo said. “He gave a lot of useful tips about what kind of interns he would look for. He said that becoming a good writer can open so many doors in the field of media… I will definitely start to write more.”
Licht closed his presentation warning students about the demand that is necessary in the start of a career in broadcast journalism.
“If you want to get into this business, you have to love it,” Licht said.