5 Things to Know About Scott Pelley

10:11 AM PST 05/05/2011 by THR staff
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The "60 Minutes" correspondent will replace Katie Couric as anchor of "CBS Evening News."

Scott Pelley has been tapped to replace Katie Couric as anchor of CBS Evening News. He follows in the footsteps of not only Couric, who announced her departure after five years at the network on April 26, but also Dan Rather, Walter Cronkite and Douglas Edwards.

Here are five facts about Pelley:

1. He started his career at age 15. Pelley grew up in Lubbock, Texas, and got his start in journalism at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. The paper had a policy of not hiring employees under age 16, so Pelley lied about his age, according to the Texas Tech College of Mass Communications alumni magazine. He also had his mom drop him off two blocks away from the newspaper office's so none of his co-workers -- or bosses -- could see that he couldn't drive.

2. His dream was to work for 60 Minutes, but he was rejected several times before CBS News hired him. In 2009, Pelley delivered the commencement address at Texas Tech, telling the graduates that he left college thinking his dreams were not unreasonable or impossible. That's probably why he refused to take no for an answer when he interviewed -- and was rejected -- at least five times for a job on 60 Minutes. "I thought, 'What's wrong with these people? Where do they get these terrible human resources people?' They didn't understand where I was headed. No one wanted to hire me. No newspaper, television station, television network that I worked for, ever wanted to hire me." Clearly, his perseverance paid off: He has been at CBS News for 21 years.

3. He impressed former President George W. Bush with a pair of his cowboy boots. He also relayed a story to the Texas Tech graduates about a pair of boots that caught the eye of the then-president -- and fellow Texas native -- during an interview in the Oval Office. "We were sitting there in the Oval Office and the president noticed my boots. I told him, 'This is a pair of cowboy boots that even the president of the United States cannot obtain.' I showed him the boots I have on today, with the large red Double T on the front of the shaft. These boots have been all around the world and I believe the president was a little bit envious of them." He became a favorite of Bush's and was the only reported granted an interview on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

4. He considers Dan Rather a close friend and mentor. Pelley is now taking over the CBS Evening News anchor spot at one time held by Rather. Despite their close relationship, Pelley has criticized the infamous incident where Rather ran a story on "60 Minutes" about President George W. Bush's military record that was based on documents that had not been verified at the time. He argued that the newsroom's high standards of investigative journalism were thrown out the window when it came to that story.

5. He has won numerous awards. In 21 years at CBS News, Pelley has worked as a war correspondent in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and the former Yugoslavia. He also has covered numerous presidential campaigns and conducted six presidential interviews, along with reporting from the World Trade Center as Tower One collapsed on Sept. 11. For his work, he has received Pelley a duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, two George Foster Peabody awards, 14 national Emmy awards, five Edward R. Murrow awards, a George Polk and a Loeb award as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Writers Guild of America, according to his bio on CBS News' website.

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