Jeff Glor has yet to start his new job, but he’s already hard at work.
CBS last month named Glor to succeed Scott Pelley in the anchor chair at “CBS Evening News.” In recent days, Glor has taken to the field to be on the spot during news breaking moments, including during last week’s terrorist attack in New York City. He also co-anchored recent broadcasts of “Evening News” and “CBS This Morning.”
On Monday, he was in the field again, in Sutherland Springs, Texas, to cover the tragic church shooting there. He and his crew landed around 1 or 2 in the morning, then managed to get to a live location between 4 or 4:30 a.m. – time enough to deliver a report for CBS’ morning program.
“We had to get around a couple of road blocks to get here,” Glor told Variety. “I feel like this is a continuation of what we have always done,” he added. “We want to be and need to be where news is.”
Glor is not yet at the helm of “CBS Evening News,” but he is expected to take over as permanent anchor in the next few weeks. He has some challenges ahead of him. “CBS Evening News” has in recent years lagged rival broadcasts from both NBC and ABC, even though CBS puts added focus on foreign and investigative reporting.
CBS has indicated that the evening in “Evening News” may be something of a misnomer – particularly in an era when the company also operates a streaming-video news outlet. Glor said he realizes he will need to be available at many points during the day, whether he’s making a streaming-video appearance or doing a hit for radio. “It’s sort of covering every base we can, at every time, as much as we can,” he said.
There’s also some discussion about giving viewers a core group of correspondents on the broadcast – something that has worked well at other CBS programs like “60 Minutes” and “CBS Sunday Morning.” Glor said producers are discussing how that could play out on the newscast.
For Glor, the new role is the culmination of a decade spent at CBS traveling to far corners of the world, including Haiti, Alaska, and Africa. “I like to think I’ve gotten a reasonably wide range of experience and I would like to continue that as much as possible,” he said. “There’s always going to be news.”
Getting the new anchor close to the action could help differentiate the broadcast at a time of flux, said Doug Spero, a veteran TV-news producer who teaches at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. “People want to know that the anchor is a seasoned journalist and this will help illustrate that,” he said. “But taking him out-of-town has to have substance and not just ‘face time’ on location.”
Spero advises linking “CBS Evening News” and “CBS This Morning,” and using both to foster a sense of “the place to go for hard news.”
Glor said he intends to drill down on topics others may not. He sees a need for stories about the environment –something he has kept tabs on during his tenure — and technology, as well as “where things are going and how we can try to be ahead of the curve.”
And he said he is not dissuaded by some of the fights the White House picks with the press. Jeff Fager, the executive producer at “60 Minutes,” once used a phrase that Glor said has stuck with him.
“If you have an agenda, you don’t belong in this business,” he recalled. “We don’t have an agenda other than the best and most accurate reporting possible. We do the news.”