"When you cover the White House, you are no longer in control of your life at all, you're at the mercy of the President's schedule 100%."
About This Interview
Lesley Stahl knew she had what it took to be a reporter: "I think I knew by instinct that the door kicking part was necessary, the idea that you make a hundred calls instead of just fifty, and that you don't take no for an answer. I knew that my energy was going to be there, my urge to get to the bottom of a story would not flag." Lesley Stahl's over three-decade career in broadcast journalism includes serving as White House correspondent during the Carter, Reagan, and Bush Sr. presidencies and lengthy tenures as the moderator of Face the Nation and as a correspondent on 60 Minutes. In her one-hour Archive interview, Stahl talks about discovering her passion for journalism and her early years in television, which included work as a producer at CBS affiliate WHDH in Boston. She discusses how, as a result of affirmative action, she came to work for CBS News in the early 1970s as a Washington reporter and touches on the stories she covered, notably the Watergate scandal. She references the challenges of being a woman in the male-dominated news business of the time. She recounts how she came to be appointed as White House Correspondent at CBS during the Carter Administration and gives her impressions of its treatment of the press, (in comparison to the subsequent Reagan Administration). She speaks in some detail about her longtime association with the news-magazine series 60 Minutes: outlining the process by which she puts a story segment together and giving her impressions of executive producers Don Hewitt and Jeffrey Fager. Lastly, she discusses her work as moderator of Face the Nation, saying of her interviewing style: "I tried to be tough, I wanted to be tough. I think that's what they paid me to do. I wanted to make news and I think I was tenacious." Karen Herman conducted the interview in New York, NY on September 14, 2006.