Scott Pelley

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Scott Pelley
Pelley at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York, 2014
Scott Cameron Pelley

(1957-07-28) July 28, 1957 (age 66)
EducationCoronado High School (Lubbock, Texas)
Alma materTexas Tech University
Years active1975–present
Notable credit(s)60 Minutes
CBS Evening News
Jane Boone
(m. 1983)

Scott Cameron Pelley (born July 28, 1957) is an American journalist and author who has been a correspondent and anchor for CBS News for more than 31 years. Pelley is the author of the 2019 book, Truth Worth Telling, and a correspondent for the CBS News magazine 60 Minutes. Pelley served as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News from 2011 to 2017, a period in which the broadcast added more than a million and a half viewers, achieving its highest ratings in more than a decade.[1] Pelley served as CBS News’s chief White House correspondent from 1997 to 1999.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in San Antonio, Texas,[1] Pelley grew up in Lubbock, where he graduated from Coronado High School and obtained his first job in journalism at the age of 15 as a copyboy for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Staying close to home, he majored in journalism at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.[2]


Pelley interviews President Barack Obama in the Diplomatic Receiving Room of the White House, 2011

CBS News[edit]

Pelley's CBS career started in New York City in 1989. Later, he returned to Dallas to cover national affairs from the CBS bureau.[3] Pelley covered the 1990/91 Gulf war, reporting from Baghdad and traveling with the XVIII Airborne Corps in its assault on Iraq and Kuwait. He was assigned to cover the 1992 presidential campaigns of Ross Perot and Bill Clinton, and also reported on such major events as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Waco Siege, and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Pelley served as CBS News's Chief White House Correspondent from 1997 to 1999. During that time, President Clinton was impeached by the United States House of Representatives. In covering the investigation of the president, Pelley broke the news that Monica Lewinsky had become a cooperating witness in the investigation conducted by the Office of Independent Counsel.

Pelley with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office.

60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II[edit]

Pelley interviewing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

Pelley reported on the economic collapse of 2008-09, on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and reporting on climate change from Antarctica and the Arctic. In 2008, Pelley conducted an interview with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The interview was the first with a Fed Chairman in decades and broke a long-standing Federal Reserve tradition.

Pelley has reported from Iraq on the front lines in the battle against ISIS;[4] he landed the first major television interview with FBI Director James Comey in 2014;[5] and he conducted an interview of the nurses who treated the first Ebola patient in the United States.[6] Pelley also conducted the only interview with one of the Navy SEALs who helped to kill Osama bin Laden.[7]

In September 2015, Pelley met Pope Francis at the Vatican ahead of the pontiff's visit to the United States,[8] and later led CBS News' coverage of the visit.

On October 15, 2023 Pelley conducted an interview with US President Joe Biden about the Hamas attack on Israel and the ongoing Israel-Hamas War[9]

War reporting[edit]

Pelley with Darfur refugees, 2006.

Starting with the Persian Gulf crisis of 1990 and the 1991 invasion of Iraq, Pelley has reported extensively from many war zones.

In 2006 and 2007 he filed reports on the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. In his 2007 report, Pelley enlisted the help of a rebel group to organize an armed reconnaissance into Darfur. The story revealed a village that had been destroyed by government forces in their campaign of genocide.

In Afghanistan, Pelley accompanied numerous units of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps in combat operations and reported independently on the effects of the war on civilians.

Miraculously, Pelley managed to get into Kyiv to interview President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for the 60 Minutes segment which aired April 10, 2022 while Kyiv was under siege by Russian forces during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[10]

CBS Evening News[edit]

Pelley interviews Secretary of State John Kerry in 2015

Pelley became the anchor of the CBS Evening News on June 6, 2011, succeeding Katie Couric.[11][12][13] In Pelley's first nine months in the anchor chair, the program gained an additional daily 821,000 viewers.[14]

Pelley's coverage[clarification needed] of the Trump administration has been recognized by journalists and media evaluators. According to Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, Pelley's coverage of the Trump administration is an example of "pointed truth telling" that has "set himself apart" from his competitors.[15] Media critic Andrew Tyndall said, "To me, it's not commentary. It's actual reporting."[16]

Pelley later told CNN that he had been removed from the anchor chair for complaining to CBS News management about a hostile work environment for the news division's employees. The comments underscore the fallout the network continues to face from the Me Too movement, as CBS Corporation chairman Les Moonves, 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager and CBS This Morning host Charlie Rose have all been dismissed for inappropriate conduct on the job.[17][18]

Despite some articles blaming poor ratings when Pelley was relieved of his position, there are several other articles indicating strong ratings and audience growth during Pelley's tenure as CBS Evening News anchor. These tend to give credence to Pelley's assertion that he was let go due to his complaints about a "hostile work environment".[19]


Variety wrote, "For CBS the key was switching to Pelley, the former war reporter and White House correspondent. He took over from Katie Couric and has steadily made up ground ever since." Of 60 Minutes, David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun wrote in 2007, "If there is a single face of the broadcast, it is now that of Pelley who has done several of the biggest interviews and stories." Allen Neuharth, founder of USA Today, noted that "Pelley threw hardballs" in his 2007 interview with President Bush. Bob Woodward, writing in The Washington Post in 2007, said, "Scott Pelley nailed the crucial question" in his interview with former CIA Director, George Tenet. William F. Buckley, Jr., in the National Review, said "Pelley did fine work" in the Tenet piece. Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times wrote, "the strongest on-air personality of the moment belongs to one of the program's blander faces, Scott Pelley."[20] On Pelley's second anniversary as anchor of the CBS Evening News, the Baltimore Sun praised Pelley and his team for delivering an "honest" newscast.[21]

Variety lauded Pelley as anchor of the CBS Evening News, writing that Pelley "conveys the sense of someone with genuine gravitas and a commitment to his craft, while appearing cool and unflappable in breaking-news situations."[22] In February 2015, the Los Angeles Times praised Pelley's "no frills style" and lauded him for being "all about the journalism."[23] Veteran television writer Stephen Battaglio wrote, "While authenticity has become a hot topic in TV news, Pelley has never needed to invent it or try to enhance it."[23]


Pelley is the most awarded correspondent in the history of 60 Minutes. He has won 40 national Emmy Awards from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.[citation needed]

In 2020, Pelley and his team were awarded the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for reporting on the separation of migrant children from their families at the U.S. border. This was Pelley's fourth duPont-Columbia Award.[citation needed]

In 2016, Pelley and his team were awarded the Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award for reporting on a nerve gas attack that occurred in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria, in 2013. More than 1,400 civilians were killed. The judges cited "previously unheard testimony and unseen images which bore shocking witness to the 2013 Syrian Sarin gas attacks."[citation needed]

In 2014, CBS News was recognized with the Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Award for its coverage of the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In their citation the judges wrote, "Scott Pelley's conversation on '60 Minutes' with seven of the families that lost children was remarkable for its courage and candor."[citation needed]

Pelley at the 72nd Annual Peabody Awards

In 2013, Pelley's team of producers, photographers and editors won its third George Foster Peabody Award for an investigation of a fraudulent medical study at Duke University. The report detailed how a star researcher fabricated data in what was thought to be an important breakthrough in cancer treatment.[citation needed]

Pelley (left) speaks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for 60 Minutes in 2022

Pelley and his team earned the 2012 Gerald Loeb Award for Explanatory business journalism for the story "The Next Housing Shock."[24]

In 2011, Pelley's team won the Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Award for an investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The story uncovered the troubled history of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the months and days before the 2010 blowout that killed 11 crewmen and unleashed the largest accidental oil spill in history.[citation needed]

In 2009, Pelley's team won its second George Foster Peabody Award for a report on the medical relief organization Remote Area Medical (RAM). RAM was created to airdrop doctors and supplies into the developing world, but today it does most of its work setting up free medical clinics for the uninsured in the United States.[25]

Also in 2009, Pelley's team won the George Polk Award, the Gerald Loeb Award for Television Enterprise business journalism,[26] and an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for an investigation of American recycling companies that secretly ship hazardous waste to China. The report exposed an illegal trade that ruins the health of villagers who dismantle discarded computers under medieval conditions.

The Pelley team's reporting on the deaths of civilians during a Marine engagement in Haditha, Iraq, won the 2007 George Foster Peabody Award.[27] The citation for the award said in part, "This thorough, open-minded investigation of the worst single killing of civilians by American troops since Vietnam put not just the incident into better perspective but the entire Iraq War and the terrible choices it presents both soldier and civilian".[28]

The show's reporting on child slavery in India earned 60 Minutes II the Investigative Reporters and Editors award in 1999.[citation needed]

Pelley's team has won eight Edward R. Murrow Awards, which were bestowed by the Radio and Television News Directors Association and three Writers Guild of America Awards.[citation needed]

Pelley is a former co-Chair of the Board of Overseers for the International Rescue Committee, the refugee relief agency headquartered in New York City.[citation needed]

Pelley left Texas Tech without a degree, but he has maintained an ongoing relationship with the university. On March 22, 2013, he was named an Outstanding Alumnus of Texas Tech University, the highest honor bestowed by Texas Tech Alumni Association. Pelley was inducted into the Texas Tech University College of Media and Communication Hall of Fame in 2006. He currently serves on the professional advisory board of the university's College of Media and Communication.[citation needed]

In 2010, Pelley was named to's "Men on Top" list alongside Conan O'Brien, Tom Hardy, and Mark Ronson.[29] "He restores a little of our faith in TV news," writes, "while performing hugely important, world-bettering reports along the way."[29]

In 2016, Pelley was honored with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.[30]

Personal life[edit]

In 1983, Pelley married Jane Boone, a former television reporter and advertising executive. They have a son and a daughter.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kohn, David (February 26, 2002). "Scott Pelley Bio". CBS News. Archived from the original on December 24, 2007. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  2. ^ Carter, Logan G. (Summer 2006). "Hall of Fame" (PDF). The Mass Communicator. College of Media & Communication, Texas Tech University. 31 (2): 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 12, 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  3. ^ "Scott Pelley". September 2022. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  4. ^ Pelley, Scott (September 21, 2014). "The Islamic State: On the ground in Iraq". CBS News. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  5. ^ Pelley, Scott (October 5, 2014). "FBI Director James Comey on threat of ISIS, cybercrime". CBS News. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  6. ^ Pelley, Scott (October 26, 2014). "Ebola: Inside the first U.S. diagnosis". CBS News. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  7. ^ Pelley, Scott (September 24, 2012). "SEAL's first-hand account of bin Laden killing". CBS News. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  8. ^ Pelley, Scott (September 20, 2015). "Pope Francis". CBS News. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  9. ^ "President Joe Biden: The 2023 60 Minutes interview transcript - CBS News". CBS News. October 15, 2023.
  10. ^ Beals, Monique (April 11, 2022). "Zelensky on NATO: 'No longer interested in their diplomacy'". The Hill.
  11. ^ "Scott Pelley named anchor of 'CBS Evening News'". CBS News. May 3, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  12. ^ "Scott Pelley confirmed as CBS Evening News presenter". The Spy Report. Media Spy. May 4, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  13. ^ Stelter, Brian (April 11, 2011). "Front-Runner for CBS Anchor Is '60 Minutes' Reporter". The New York Times. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "Evening News Ratings: Week of August 1". TV Newser. August 9, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  15. ^ Sullivan, Margaret (March 26, 2017). "Scott Pelley is pulling no punches on the nightly news - and people are taking notice". The Washington Post.
  16. ^ Bauder, David (March 7, 2017). "CBS' Scott Pelley noted for blunt evaluations of Trump". The Boston Globe.
  17. ^ "Scott Pelley claims he was dumped from ‘CBS Evening News’ for complaining about ‘hostile work environment’" from New York Daily News (May 26, 2019)
  18. ^ "CBS’s Scott Pelley Blasts Former Boss David Rhodes for ‘Hostile Work Environment’" from The Daily Beast (May 26, 2019)
  19. ^ "ALL ARTICLES FILED IN CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley Ratings", TV by the Numbers; accessed December 28, 2021.
  20. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (May 18, 2007). "Going Like 60 (Tick Tick Tick)". The New York Times.
  21. ^ "Scott Pelley says Americans want an 'honest' newscast". Baltimore Sun. June 6, 2013. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  22. ^ Lowry, Brian (February 12, 2015). "Scott Pelley Delivers Classy Tribute to CBS' Bob Simon". Variety. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  23. ^ a b Battaglio, Stephen (February 26, 2015). "'CBS Evening News' anchor Scott Pelley is all about the journalism". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  24. ^ "UCLA Anderson Announces 2012 Gerald Loeb Award Winners". UCLA Anderson School of Management. June 26, 2012. Archived from the original on April 12, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  25. ^ "George Foster Peabody Award Winners" (PDF). University of Georgia. p. 88. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 26, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  26. ^ "Loeb Winners". UCLA Anderson School of Management. June 29, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  27. ^ Stelter, Brian (April 3, 2008). "Arts, Briefly; Peabody Award Winners". The New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  28. ^ "CBS News 60 Minutes: The Killings in Haditha (CBS)". The Peabody Awards. Archived from the original on March 19, 2009. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  29. ^ a b "Salon's "Men on Top 2010"'". Salon. Archived from the original on November 17, 2010. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  30. ^ "Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism". Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  31. ^ Hodenfield, Chris (January 31, 2010). "At Home With Scott Pelley". New Canaan-Darien+Rowayton. Moffly Publications. Archived from the original on January 29, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017.

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