Follow one of the first women network news producers as she climbs the career ladder right through the headlines of American history and inspires us all to speak up for ourselves and fight for our own success.
From Cuba to Vietnam and to Tiananmen Square, Linda Mason stood side-by-side with CBS news anchors Walter Cronkite, Charles Kuralt, and Dan Rather to bring the world stories of history-in-the-making and smash the glass ceiling of the network news world. As one of the first women to serve as producer for a primetime network news broadcast, Linda Mason blazed a trail of perseverance as she climbed the network ladder. Her list of adventures included taking Dan Rather to Cuba to meet Fidel Castro, taking Rather and General Norman Schwarzkopf to Vietnam to assess the war-torn country 20 years after the end of the war, and witnessing first-hand the protests in China’s Tiananmen Square.
In writing Speak Up, Mason reflects on her career and the leadership lessons she learned along the way. The formula she shares with all young professionals is simple, but the lessons are timeless: work hard, don't complain, ask questions, and when the time is right, speak up about what is next. Mason followed this formula to great success and looks forward to following the groundbreaking careers of today’s professionals throughout media, politics, and in all leadership roles.
In forty-seven years with CBS News, Linda S. Mason rose from desk assistant to senior vice president of standards and special projects. As one of first female producers in broadcast news, she lead teams including Dan Rather, Charles Kuralt, and Walter Cronkite around the world in pursuit of breaking news. While serving as a writer, producer, network representative, and internal program leader, Mason championed professional ethics and diversity initiatives. Over the years, Mason won 13 Emmys, was awarded Brown University's prestigious William Roger's Award, and was inducted into the Deadline Club's Hall of Fame.
Foreword by Connie Chung
Chapter 1: Hello, Fidel!
Chapter 2: Growing Up
Chapter 3: CBS – Here I Am
Chapter 4: The Most Trusted Man in America
Chapter 5: … Standards: The Secret Sauce
Chapter 6: CBS Scandal: Drugs, Payola, and the Mafia
Chapter 7: I Face the Jury
Chapter 8: Work at Work, Work at Home
Chapter 9: Women’s Place at Work
Chapter 10: Weekend News, Here I Come
Chapter 11: The Story Man: Charles Kuralt
Chapter 12: Turmoil at Tiananmen Square
Chapter 13: Rather at the Helm
Chapter 14: CBS In Turmoil
Chapter 15: A Dream Fulfilled: Documentaries
Chapter 16: Vietnam: 20 Years Later
Chapter 17: 9/11
Chapter 18: Too Close to Call
Chapter 19: Crisis Shakes CBS News to its Roots
Chapter 20: Heartache in Baghdad
Chapter 21: Cronkite’s Memorial Service
Chapter 22: The Future: Digital News
Chapter 23: Off the Clock: Life After CBS News
Buried within an abundance of “behind-the-curtain” stories, Mason, former Senior Vice President at CBS News, delivers three rock-solid strategies for overcoming obstacles in a tough profession: work hard, ask questions, and speak up. In a recounting that does not duck a few scandals, Mason shows how the implementation of these foundational strategies kept her moving up the organizational ladder. From Dan Rather to Charles Kuralt, from Watergate to 9/11, decades of major news events bring lessons beyond the obvious. With a standout chapter recounting Walter Cronkite’s funeral, the lessons learned shine a light on the personal and emotional side of journalism. Looking at our history as it was being made, accompanied by the drive to deliver those historic events with integrity, played no small part in blazing the trail for an historic career. Those looking for insider stories will line up alongside women seeking guidance in fighting for a place in male-dominated professions. Anticipate demand in public library collections.
With details about pivotal moments in current events and Emmy Award–winning Mason’s own behind-the-scenes stories of harassment, double standards, and more, this well-researched and smartly written book reads like a special edition of a magazine for news buffs. As one of the first women network news producers and the first woman one for CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, Mason was—and remains—a trailblazer, whose 50 years (47 spent at CBS) in journalism helped pave the way for women. In sharing her story, she shows exactly what she had to do and navigate to achieve success at CBS. She infuses stories about her life and her ambition with dramatic accounts of globally significant moments, such as Dan Rather’s interview with Fidel Castro. Readers will learn how deeply entwined her identity is with the news reports she helped tell to the world. This book ranks as a powerful reminder of the resilience it takes for women to rise professionally in spaces traditionally reserved for men.
You will be inspired by her work ethic and courage to travel all over the world and put herself in breaking stories.
At a time when TV news has been demonized and polarized, it's refreshing to read this colorful memoir by a groundbreaking journalist whose intelligence, integrity, and good humor propelled her to great heights—through the glass ceiling and beyond.
Linda Mason blazed a trail across the tough and sometimes hostile terrain of network TV news and helped clear a path for every woman who followed her. It's an inspiring story of brains, guts, and determination along with a colorful insider's account of one of America's most celebrated institutions by a pioneer who was there every step of the way—whether the guys liked it or not.
Linda Mason shows us what it took to report pivotal moments in history. At a time when trust in the news media needs it most, Linda explains the extraordinary work it took to get the story right, and the importance given to that effort. While she downplays just how remarkable it was that she, a woman, had a seat at the table, Linda Mason was at the center of that critical moment in the life of some of the most important stories of our time.
Women everywhere are in debt to Linda Mason. Her perseverance helped make CBS News vibrant with the contributions of women and people of color. Speak Up is a fight for justice wrapped in the amazing adventures of an intrepid journalist.
Linda Mason made such a strong impression on me when I was a new Broadcast Associate through standards seminars that she ran. I still invoke her name and think of her as a holy grail of sorts for thorough, serious vetting and consideration in news reporting.
Linda Mason has been a guiding light for CBS News and the hundreds of journalists she has helped along the way. Her life served as the perfect foundation for her inspirational and pivotal role. Linda not only broke through multiple glass ceilings, she made sure she would help others do the same. Speak Up is a testament to her legacy.
I don't think there's another woman who could write a memoir like Linda Mason's. She was usually the only "she" in the room, influencing and shaping news coverage at CBS News for 30 years of major historical events. She writes colorfully about collaborating with Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, about navigating and handling the #MeToo moments, and about juggling a big job with kids and a husband. She was in the room with real power. It's an extraordinary news flash and a wonderful book.
Among the women pioneers in broadcast news, Linda Mason is best positioned to share invaluable context and perspective in her rise through the predicaments of gender politics at CBS where her talent and persistence prevailed.
A compelling memoir that takes the reader behind the scenes of network TV during its heyday. Ever wonder if it was easy for women in the business back then? It wasn’t. Mason’s memoir tells the inside story.
5/29/23, Forbes: This is featured in a roundup of new biographies of business executives.
7/5/23, Prime Women: This is featured first in a roundup of “Juicy Summer Books.”
Link: https://primewomen.com/entertainment/books-and-tv/sandys-selections-summer-books-july/Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/PrimeWomen1/posts/pfbid0FmiVwWqVYt6ceXhMyCtnwcYBAKbYncPRSPxHnVsaRHa8fCXgmA2hFWhkYFZW7LaFl