‘CBS Mornings’ – Tony Dokoupil on his most challenging interviews

Co-host digging the new format, cohorts

Tony Dokoupil

Tony Dokoupil felt an immediate kinship with his new “CBS Mornings” co-host Nate Burleson.

The two men are the same age, both come from sports backgrounds and thus have similar cultural points of reference, and so Dokoupil felt he knew Burleson from the get-go. Consequently, he reports the chemistry has been solid among them and co-host Gayle King since the show switched from “CBS This Morning” in September.

“I love having him on set,” Dokoupil says of Burleson. “I know that similar to Gayle, he can go in any direction at any time and so you don’t have to feel constrained. And if there’s a wobble, he’ll help you and vice versa. And that’s what you need. It’s a high-wire act, live television, and he’s a good acrobat. … He knows how to stay on the wire but also keep people interested and that’s a terrific talent.”

Since joining CBS News in 2016, the versatile Dokoupil has exhibited his expertise in many areas, reporting on topics ranging from pop culture and entertainment, to food, politics and current events. He co-anchored the morning broadcast from Capitol Hill following the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, reported from the Caribbean during Hurricanes Laura and Dorian and covered the 2020 presidential election from several key battleground states.

He’s also is interested in social issues. Among stories he’s proudest of are his report on housing discrimination and another on income inequality, for which he used actual pies instead of a pie chart to illustrate his point.

And then there are his interviews, which have been numerous across a wide spectrum. Of them, he points to former Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the Trump administration as being particularly tricky. But also educational.

“That was a challenge finding the right tone to have interviews that hew to the facts and try to keep people to the facts without being disagreeable,” he explains. “Because you’re a middle-of-the-road morning show and it’s a tender part of the morning. And people who want political argument are not watching; they’re watching cable. So they want civil discourse. And that was tricky for me.

“That was definitely a learning curve,” he continues,”and I’m glad that curve is behind me and I’m really excited about 2022 and 2024 because I think I figured out how to do public-interest journalism/political coverage that is respectful while also intentional and guarding of the truth.”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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