MVP who spends his spare time
raising money for Down Syndrome
because he married a woman who has
a child with Down.
“Bill has a combination of excellent
ability and leadership,” says his boss,
Jeff Fager, the executive producer. “He
paid his dues covering stories of all
kinds for many years. He has great
instincts. He’s curious. He digs. And
he knows how to tell stories.”
He’s in the right place. If there’s a
mantra at 60 Minutes, it’s “Tell me a
story.” It always has been. It comes
from the show’s creator, the late Don
Talk to anyone in the New York offices of 60 Minutes and it doesn’t take
long before the top boss, well-known
correspondents or recently hired
assistants whisper Hewitt’s name in
hushed, reverential tones.
Owens is no exception. “Hewitt was
a genius,” he says. He would tackle
stories about peace in the Middle East,
“It’s not easy
to make a good
60 Minutes story
and it shouldn’t be.”
– BILL OWENS ’88
the space program or what was in
Jackie O’s closet. “But the story had to
be done well,” Owens explains.
It’s a formula that has succeeded
since the show first aired in 1968.
In its 43 years, 60 Minutes has won
more Emmy Awards than any other
primetime broadcast as well as virtually every other broadcast journalism
award, including 18 Peabody awards
for excellence in television broadcasting, according to the show’s website.
Bill Owens pauses amidst the many monitors, panels and slick technology in the 60 Minutes control room.
Dupont Award for a piece on the Gulf
oil spill and thanked his team with a
It’s a storytelling formula which
seems as natural as breathing to Owens.
In early November, he had just
returned from taping a 60 Minutes
segment with President Obama in
With little chance to escape the
office, Owens was happy to be part of
the production team and eager to talk
about being back on the road.
“It’s always extremely amazing to
be in the Oval Office,” he says. “I
imagine even the president feels that way.”
But he admits, “There’s a lot on the
line. We have to be thinking about a lot
of things at once—how it looks, follow-
up questions. Is the president saying
anything that needs to be challenged, or
that we need to run out and get on the
CBS news? We have to be focused.”
He pauses then, and pulls a “cool
picture” of Obama and himself off his
11 WINTER 2011 towson