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CBS News Taps Alturo Rhymes As EP Of Daily News, Jim Axelrod To Lead Expanded ‘Eye On America’ Franchise

CBS News has tapped Alturo Rhymes in the newly created position of executive producer of daily news, while correspondent Jim Axelrod will be leading a new Eye on America unit.

Rhymes will be responsible for “centralizing our daily Newsgathering offerings to the broadcasts, stream and digital so that we are positioned to aggressively advance stories in the news each day and ensure our best reporting flows seamlessly to all shows and platforms,” according to a note to staffers sent by CBS News President Ingrid Ciprián-Matthews.

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“By streamlining the decision-making process around daily news we’ll be faster and deeper in our reporting from morning to night and ultimately better positioned to own the big stories,” she wrote.

Alturo Rhymes
Alturo Rhymes

Rhymes was most recently executive story editor for CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell, and previously was co-senior broadcast producer of the program. He joined the network in 2005 as a producer at Newspath.

The network also announced that it would be expanding its Eye on America franchise into a separate unit, with Axelrod as chief correspondent and executive editor.

“Under Jim, the unit will rely on a core team of reporters and producers to deliver best-in-class storytelling on key issues that matter to people from Tacoma to Tallahassee,” wrote Adam Verdugo, executive producer of CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell. A recent example was a report on atmospheric rivers.

Verdugo wrote that the goal is for the Eye on America franchise to air four nights a week, with On the Road with Steve Hartman continuing to air on Fridays. The Eye on America segment was launched in 1991 “to get the broadcast out of New York and Washington and into communities nationwide. We want to continue to live up to that mission,” Verdugo wrote.

“The guiding principle will be to follow our curiosity wherever it leads. We will strive to find original stories that differentiate the CBS Evening News,” he wrote.

Jim Axelrod
Jim Axelrod

Axelrod was the chief investigative and senior national correspondent for CBS News. He joined the network in 1996 as a Miami-based correspondent, and also served as chief White House correspondent and anchor of the Saturday edition of CBS Evening News.

Ciprián-Matthews’ memo is below:

Dear Colleagues,

Today, I’m happy to announce we’ve promoted Alturo Rhymes to the newly created position of Executive Producer of Daily News.

In this role, Alturo will be responsible for centralizing our daily Newsgathering offerings to the broadcasts, stream and digital so that we are positioned to aggressively advance stories in the news each day and ensure our best reporting flows seamlessly to all shows and platforms.

He’ll work hand in hand with Terri Stewart and the show EPs in coordinating and tracking daily reporting for all programs – while also working directly with correspondents and field teams.

With this change, we’re embracing a model where the story drives the coverage to fuel a 24/7 multiplatform news organization. By streamlining the decision-making process around daily news we’ll be faster and deeper in our reporting from morning to night and ultimately better positioned to own the big stories.

One of our top priorities is to ensure that we’re building this organization for the future to support the ubiquitous distribution of our outstanding reporting with the speed and care it deserves. As the number of platforms and outlets for our reporting grows, the key to success is to work smarter, not harder. This new structure will help us do just that.

I look forward to having Alturo and all of our EPs and leaders throughout the organization work together as we transform and align our daily news priorities.

Alturo has seen this opportunity from his vantage point in the Evening News “fishbowl” to today. For more than 18 years at CBS News, Alturo has produced and led teams covering major domestic, international, and breaking news events. He has produced stories from the aftermath of Katrina to the unrest in Ferguson and the Papal visits to Cuba. Most recently, Alturo directed the editorial coverage for several global news events as Executive Story Editor of the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell and previously served in the key position of Co-Senior Broadcast Producer since 2021. Since 2011, Alturo has worked on the Evening News and has demonstrated his impeccable news judgment, leadership skills and influential voice in our editorial direction which has helped us stay out front of many stories.

Alturo began his journalism career at NBC News and worked at MSNBC, CNN Financial News and CNBC before joining CBS Newspath as a producer in 2005. Alturo moved to the CBS Weekend News in 2006 and the CBS Evening News in 2011. He was promoted to Senior Producer in 2017 before serving as Senior Broadcast Producer and Executive Story Editor. Along the way, he’s earned several journalism awards, including a DuPont Award for CBS News’ coverage of the Newtown, CT, school shooting, a News and Documentary Emmy Award for a CBS Evening News multi-part series on the National Guard’s Challenge Academy.

Please join me in congratulating Alturo and welcoming him into this new role.

Ingrid

Verdugo’s memo to staff below:

Team,

These past two weeks – with the coverage from the Red Sea aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the coverage of the New Hampshire primary, and everything else happening in the world – were great examples of how much news, information, context, and “hard news with heart” go into the broadcast every night.

With that in mind, I’m excited to announce that we are expanding and reimagining “Eye on America” (EOA) into a separate unit and have named Jim Axelrod its executive editor. Under Jim, the unit will rely on a core team of reporters and producers to deliver best-in-class storytelling on key issues that matter to people from Tacoma to Tallahassee.

We’ll have more to share on the formation of this new unit soon, but it will include adding to our senior producer and producer ranks. We will also rely on the subject matter expertise from the new beats/units from News and Stations for EOA stories.

This marks an expansion for the franchise. The goal is for “Eye on America” stories to air four nights a week with Steve Hartman’s “On the Road” continuing to air on Fridays. In other words, these stories won’t be just once a week; they will become a staple in our broadcast. Also, the new EOA segments will run first on the “CBS Evening News” and then be featured across all CBS News and Stations programs and platforms.

“Eye on America” has a long history at CBS News. It’s one of the most identifiable franchises connected to our broadcast. It launched in 1991 on the “CBS Evening News” to get the broadcast out of New York and Washington and into communities nationwide. We want to continue to live up to that mission.

The creation of this unit and investment in this mission is a strong signal that we are doubling down on our promise to viewers: to provide context and showcase the humanity behind the headlines.

As Norah, Jim, and I have discussed, with a newly created “Eye on America” team – no topic will be off limits. It will be a center for journalistic excellence in a crowded media landscape. We will set our apertures wide. The guiding principle will be to follow our curiosity wherever it leads. We will strive to find original stories that differentiate the “CBS Evening News.” We will seek out characters who demonstrate resilience, grit, and determination to tackle challenges – and even if those challenges seem bleak or insurmountable, our viewers will find something to admire about the pursuit to make our communities better. We want viewers to walk away feeling hopeful by letting the indomitable human spirit shine through.

Think more conversations and exchanges from our interviews, allowing our characters to drive our pieces.  Fewer “soundbites.” Compelling imagery. Masterful storytelling.

In one of our early exchanges discussing this new approach to EOA, Jim wrote something that I think is important to highlight about the mission ahead: “For more than three decades, CBS News viewers have counted on ‘Eye on America’ for meaningful deeper dives into the people, issues, and forces shaping our culture. This is a chance to help reconnect our audience with this valuable CBS News franchise. We need it now more than ever.”

I couldn’t agree more.

The new EOA segments will debut in the spring.  In the meantime, I want to thank Angel Canales and everyone else who has contributed to EOA.

Please take a moment to congratulate Jim on his expanded role for the “CBS Evening News.” I’m excited to lean on his experience as a journalist, writer, and storyteller focused on maintaining the level of excellence that makes CBS News reporting stand out.

Thank you for all of your hard work over this busy news cycle and keep on following that curiosity.

Adam

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