In the Public Eye: CBS Business Reporter Anthony Mason

By January 25, 2007Media Relations

CBS Public Eye is the network’s laudable effort toward transparency, an ombudsman-like accounting of how the television news business works.

A new feature, the Public Eye Chat, launched this month with an interview between Public Eye’s Brian Montopoli and CBS business correspondent Anthony Mason. (Transcript here.) It’s a frank discussion about Mason’s career, the business beat and reporters’ biases.

BM: So would it be fair to say that mainstream news organizations have an institutional bias against business because it’s this big entity and you feel like you have to frame your coverage within huge — of course, a huge CEO pay package is a story, and something people can get upset about — but, by virtue of the topic, it’s not like you’re covering something more innocuous.

AM: An institutional bias may be a little strong, but there is certainly a lack of understanding is a better way of putting it. I think at a time there might have been an institutional bias. I think a lot of people who come into journalism didn’t know much about business, and weren’t that interested. And I was certainly one of those people. And I kind of woke up when I hit 40 and realized I had to put my kids through college and all that stuff and I got married and my father in law ran a small business, and I started hearing what it’s like to keep a business running. And how hard it is, all the people you have to employ and look after, and I started seeing it from a whole other side that I never looked at.

And I think that’s part of the problem — most of us are on the employee side of things, and not on the employer side. And there’s another side to it.

Speaking as a former newsguy, that seems about right (although you certainly do run into reporters who have their anti-business prejudices). For those interested in business reporting, the entire interview is worth reading. Kudos to Mason and CBS.