You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CBS News’ David Begnaud Makes Mark With Puerto Rico Coverage

When Lin-Manuel Miranda decided to bring a U.S. TV news crew along for a look at Hurricane Maria’s toll on his extended family in Puerto Rico, there was little doubt which network the “Hamilton” creator would approach.

CBS News correspondent David Begnaud has extensively covered the painfully slow pace of recovery on the island. He was there for more than two weeks after Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, and he’s been back twice since. His reports on conditions in cities and towns well outside of San Juan impressed Miranda and his parents, who are natives of Puerto Rico.

“We went to the spot where the home that his grandfather built was literally wiped out,” Begnaud said of the report that airs Sunday on “CBS Sunday Morning.” “The only thing left was a porch and a slab.”

Begnaud’s tenacity in Puerto Rico has boosted a star that was already rising at CBS News. The Louisiana native joined the Eye in 2015 as a Miami-based correspondent. He relocated to the Dallas bureau in January, just in time to be in the right place to cover a volatile hurricane season for the Gulf Coast and Caribbean.

“I feel like I’ve been on the disaster beat for nearly three months,” Begnaud said. He was on the ground in Texas for Hurricane Harvey, rode out Hurricane Irma and then headed to Puerto Rico. He’s become a go-to correspondent for CBS News to dispatch for high-drama breaking news stories.

“I tend to be like a firefighter, and I’m OK with that,” Begnaud said. But his extended stays in Puerto Rico have also allowed him to do in-depth reporting on the infrastructure and economic issues bedeviling the island, and to vividly capture the storm’s human toll. He credits CBS News with allowing him the time and resources to report extensively on the recovery effort for various CBS News programs and the CBSN all-news streaming channel.

“I have a deep appreciation for interviews that make you feel inspired or emotional,” he said. “My aim is that in tell the story you walk away either having learned something or felt something from watching it.”

Begnaud said he has been moved by how grateful Puerto Ricans have been for outside media to put the spotlight on the island’s predicament, which hasn’t always been the case in other natural disaster areas. Puerto Ricans were already dealing with hardships caused by the island’s economic crisis when Maria hit.

Begnaud’s season of storms has taught him some lessons about reporting on widespread human misery. For starters, most people don’t need much probing to tell the stories. He spent about two hours in a shelter on Friday with a young married couple, one of whom is in a wheelchair, with two toddler kids who still have no idea when they will move to a new permanent home.

“I’ve found sometimes the best way to get somebody to tell their story in the most raw and vulnerable way is to not say a word and just listen,” he said. “I’ve learned that resilience and patience are two of the most powerful things aside from hope.”

(Pictured: Lin-Manuel Miranda and David Begnaud)

More TV

  • Gerald Blum, Inspiration for 'WKRP In

    Gerald Blum, Inspiration for 'Big Guy' Carlson on 'WKRP In Cincinnati,' Dies

    Gerald “Jerry” Blum, the inspiration for the character of radio station general manager Art “Big Guy” Carlson on the long-running TV sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati,” died Saturday at 86. The Atlanta radio veteran was affectionately transformed into the fictional Carlson by veteran comic actor Gordon Jump on “WKRP,” which ran for four seasons on CBS [...]

  • Arrested Development Season 5 review

    TV News Roundup: 'Arrested Development' Sets Season 5 Return Date at Netflix

    In today’s TV news roundup, the second half of “Arrested Development” season five gets a release date and Netflix announces the voice cast for “Green Eggs and Ham.” CASTING Netflix has announced the ensemble voice cast for the upcoming “Green Eggs and Ham” series executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres and based on the Dr. Seuss book. [...]

  • LA Rams running back Todd Gurley

    Live+7 Ratings for Week of Jan. 28: Super Bowl LIII Clobbers Competition

    In a shock to no one, the 2019 Super Bowl handily defeated all of its broadcast competition in the Live+7 numbers for the week of Jan. 28. Live sports typically receive virtually no lift in delayed viewing, and Super Bowl LIII was no exception. The game did, however, rise from a 31.1 rating in adults [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Faces Prison, Career Ruin if He Lied About Attack

    Jussie Smollett is facing prison time and the implosion of his career if it turns out he lied about being the target of a hate crime, legal and public relations experts say. “The best thing that Jussie can do is pray and pray a lot,” said Ronn Torossian, founder of 5W Public Relations. “If he [...]

  • BETTER THINGS "Chicago" Episode 1 (Airs

    TV Review: 'Better Things' Season 3

    A few episodes into the new season of “Better Things,” fed-up mother Sam (creator Pamela Adlon) tries a new tactic to break up one of the countless petty fights between her daughters. Instead of forcing them apart and hoping for the best, she throws up her hands and decides to just let them go at it, [...]

  • Anna Paquin, Sophie Okonedo in Flack

    TV Review: 'Flack' Starring Anna Paquin

    There’s a familiar, acrid aftertaste to “Flack,” Pop’s new drama about the controlled chaos of the publicity industry. The grim behind-the-scenes machinations of the glossy entertainment industry have always been one of TV’s favorite subjects, as are the people tasked with pulling the strings without anyone ever realizing. Over just six episodes, the show manages [...]

  • Jee Young Han

    NBC Comedy Pilot 'Like Magic' Casts Jee Young Han in Lead Role

    Jee Young Han has been cast in the lead role of the NBC single-camera comedy pilot “Like Magic,” Variety has learned. The project is a workplace comedy that follows an optimistic young woman (Jee) pursuing her dream to be a headlining magician in the eccentric and ego-driven world of the Magic Palace. Jee will play Holly. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content