Bill Whitaker will join CBS-TV’s 60 Minutes as a correspondent, the network announced on Thursday, placing a black journalist in a regular spot on the program for the first time since Byron Pitts left for ABC-TV a year ago.
“Bill Whitaker is a tremendous journalist who has been able to cover major stories from the [O.J. Simpson] trial, to presidential campaigns, the war in Afghanistan, and one of the current domestic top stories, immigration, on an ongoing basis,” Bob Butler, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said in a statement. “I most recently worked alongside Bill at the Nelson Mandela memorial service in Johannesburg.
“Bill’s 30 years of experience at CBS has long prepared him for the opportunity to be a signature reporter on ’60 Minutes.’ Much like his fellow Philadelphian the late great ‘60 Minutes’ correspondent Ed Bradley, Bill is an innate storyteller, a determined journalist, and a consummate professional. This is a well-deserved opportunity and viewers of America’s most-watched news program will be well-served.
“We applaud CBS News for recognizing the need to have a talented and diverse group of journalists on all of its programs. Each of the African-American journalists who have reported for CBS ’60 Minutes,’ Ed Bradley, Byron Pitts and now Bill Whitaker, has further advanced the program and the network’s goal of incisive and compelling original reporting.”
The CBS statement said, “Whitaker, an Emmy-winner, has covered virtually all of the major news stories in the West since he was posted to Los Angeles in 1992, reporting regularly for the CBS Evening News and other CBS News broadcasts. He also has worked for Sunday Morning, turning out feature stories and thoughtful profiles, including on Barbra Streisand, Norman Lear and Gladys Knight. One of his most memorable Sunday Morning profiles was of ex-boxer Mike Tyson. He has interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
“This season, he appeared on 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime, profiling April Vokey, the Northwest’s famous fly-fishing guide who has changed the face of the sport. “Whitaker is a seasoned foreign correspondent and frequently reports from overseas, recently covering the funeral of Nelson Mandela from South Africa. He also did pieces from Japan on the Fukushima nuclear disaster and from Haiti after the tragic earthquake there. He reported from Kabul during the early stages of the War in Afghanistan.”
Jeff Fager, executive producer of “60 Minutes” and chairman of CBS News, said in the statement, “Bill Whitaker is one of the great veterans of CBS News. He has had a distinguished career covering just about every kind of story all over the world. Bill is a natural fit at 60 MINUTES and it’s exciting that he has agreed to join us.”