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 our 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
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.