About Scott Pelley
Scott Pelley was born in San Antonio, TX on July 28, 1957. His father was an entrepreneur who owned nightclubs and sold used automobiles in the family's hometown of Lubbock, TX; his mother was a local socialite who dabbled in real estate. While a student at Coronado High School, Pelley worked as a copyboy for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, falsifying his birth date to meet the minimum age requirement and having his mother drop him off two blocks from the news office to conceal the fact that he had not yet learned to drive. One of Pelley's tasks at the paper was to collect the wire service dispatches from the teletype machines, making him the first person in Lubbock to know national and international news stories. Though Pelley had nurtured an early dream of becoming a photographer for National Geographic, his destiny was decided when the paper's executive editor asked the teenager if he wanted to be a reporter and sat him in front of a typewriter in the city room.
Pelley studied journalism at Lubbock's Texas Tech University but dropped out without obtaining a graduate degree. During his college years, he worked for KSEL-TV (now KAMC), an ABC affiliate news station housed in a concrete bunker at the edge of an empty cotton field. As part of the station's miniscule staff, Pelley reported on local news stories, acting as his own cameraman, processing and editing his own footage and writing copy for the anchorman. In 1979, he lit out for the more competitive Dallas-Fort Worth area, the tenth-ranked news market in the country. After three years as a producer-reporter for the NBC-owned KXAS, Pelley accepted a once-weekly shift with the well-regarded ABC affiliate station WFFA. Though he was accustomed to 60-hour work weeks, Pelley brought the same level of dedication and doggedness to the part-time position. Pelley's employers were sufficiently impressed by his tenacity and the quality of his writing to offer him a fulltime staff position.
In September 1985, Pelley traveled with a WFFA crew to Mexico to cover the devastation of the magnitude 8.1 earthquake that rocked Mexico City. Pelley's reporting on the plight of Guatemalan refugees struggling to survive in jungles of Mexico drew the attention of CBS. He joined the Paley network in 1989, reporting at first on national affairs from the Dallas bureau and later joining the network in New York. In 1990-91, Pelley reported from Bagdad, Iraq and Kuwait during the First Gulf War. In 1992, he covered the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton and Ross Perot as a political correspondent. He reported on the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, as well as the subsequent trial of domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh. Pelley's reporting of the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' disastrous 1994 siege of the Branch Dividian compound in Waco, TX earned him his first Emmy; he won his second for his coverage of the 1996 crash of TWA flight 800 over the Atlantic Ocean.
Pelley served as CBS' chief White House Correspondent between 1997 and 1999 and reported on the impeachment proceedings for then-President Clinton. In 1999, he became a correspondent for the newly-launched "60 Minutes" (CBS, 1968- ) spin-off "60 Minutes II" (1999-2005), conducting the first interview with President-elect George W. Bush in 2000 and the first interview with former President Clinton in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Reporting from Ground Zero on the morning of 9/11, he was granted the only interview with President Bush on the first anniversary of the tragic event, and won the 2002 American Women in Radio and Television Gracie Allen Award for his story on children who had lost parents in the collapse of the Twin Towers. Known for his sometimes confrontational style of questioning, Pelley's interviews with such elusive subjects as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, former CIA head George Tenet, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became legendary in the field of broadcast journalism.
Pelley joined the long-running Sunday night edition of "60 Minutes" as a correspondent in 2003, reporting on global climate change, the imperiled American economy and healthcare crisis, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, genocide in the Sudan, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, and the devastating March 2011 Japanese tsunami. A true heir to the esteemed likes of Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings, Dan Rather (who served as his mentor at CBS) and Mike Wallace, Pelley was honored with a host of awards and citations for journalistic excellence, among them the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, the George Polk Award, the Writer's Guild of America Award, the Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism Award, and multiple Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Awards. Though he never graduated, Pelley was inducted into Texas Tech University's Alumni Hall of Fame in 2006.
In April 2011, "CBS Evening News" (1948- ) anchor Katie Couric announced that she would step down from the prestigious position, which the former "Today" (NBC, 1952- ) host had held since July 2006. Upon the March 2005 resignation of Couric's predecessor Dan Rather, whose departure was related to his involvement in the Killian Documents Scandal (aka Rathergate) earlier that year, Pelley was short-listed as likely to replace him although the job went instead to Rather's long-time colleague Bob Schieffer. In a bid to boost flagging ratings, Couric was brought in to replace Schieffer after only a year. News of Couric's imminent departure from the anchor desk of "CBS Evening News" prompted great speculation within the field of broadcast journalism, until Pelley was named for the assignment.
|Coronado High School, Lubbock , Texas|
|Texas Tech University, Lubbock , Texas|
|Replaced Katie Couric as the anchor of the "CBS Evening News"|
|Joined the long-running Sunday night edition of "60 Minutes"|
|Joined the newly-launched spin-off, "60 Minutes II"|
|Hired as CBS' chief White House Correspondent|
|Began his career at CBS covering national affairs from the Dallas bureau|
|Worked for several years at ABC affiliate station WFFA in Dallas-Fort Worth|
|Began career as a broadcast journalist for KSEL-TV (now KAMC), an ABC affiliate news station|
|Worked as a copyboy for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal while still in high school|