Bill Whitaker

Award-Winning Journalist

Bill Whitaker’s verve and in-depth coverage of major news stories have provided critical understanding for CBS News audiences, both globally and domestically, for almost four decades. He is known for his keen insights into the hot-button issue of race and policing in America, with reports from Cleveland, Chicago and, most recently, Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he got the news-making first interview with the city police officer accused of manslaughter for shooting an unarmed black man.

While the opioid epidemic has been reported on for several years from diverse perspectives with interviews from government whistleblowers, doctors, and opioid-dependent Americans, Whitaker was recently granted the first interview with a pharmaceutical executive for 60 Minutes.

Named a 60 Minutes correspondent in March 2014 and currently, in his fifth season, Whitaker’s reporting takes you to the center of the issues while providing a panoramic perspective.

BIO

Bill Whitaker literally was raised in Media, Pennsylvania as if a portent of things to come. Whitaker’s well-trod media career has taken him across the country and the world. Before joining 60 Minutes, Whitaker covered almost all of the major news stories in the West after he was posted to Los Angeles in 1992, regularly reporting for the CBS Evening News and other CBS News broadcasts. He has also worked for CBS Sunday Morning, turning out feature stories and thoughtful profiles on icons like Barbra Streisand, Norman Lear, and Gladys Knight. One of his most memorable Sunday Morning profiles was of ex-boxer Mike Tyson. He has also interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Whitaker’s 60 Minutes reporting has been equally wide-ranging and prolific. More than 50 percent of 60 Minutes broadcasts in the 2016-17 season contained segments reported by Whitaker. He has reported from Asia, Africa, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East, in his five seasons, including a timely investigation of the vetting process Syrian refugees undergo before coming to the U.S. and an interview with the highest-ranking North Korean official to defect in decades. His report on the biggest data leak in Swiss banking history won an Emmy.

His investigation with The Washington Post revealed how the DEA’s efforts to curb the opioid epidemic were hampered by a law pushed by drug industry lobbyists. The report was credited with forcing the law’s chief sponsor, a congressman, to withdraw his nomination for the Trump Administration’s drug czar.

Whitaker’s stories have also drawn attention to death penalty issues in the U.S., as well as America’s heroin epidemic. He received praise and was granted rare access on both sides of the border as he chronicled the epic battle to capture and hold Mexico’s infamous drug lord Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzman.

In 2008, he covered Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. He was also CBS News’ lead reporter covering the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush. Whitaker frequently reported from overseas as well, covering the funeral of Nelson Mandela from South Africa. He also did pieces from Japan on the Fukushima nuclear disaster and from Haiti after the tragic earthquake there. He reported from Kabul during the early stages of the war in Afghanistan.

Before his assignment to Los Angeles, Whitaker served as CBS News’ Tokyo correspondent (1989-92). There, he covered stories throughout Asia, including the pro-democracy uprising in Tiananmen Square, military coup attempts in the Philippines and the enthronement of Japan’s Emperor Akihito. He was in Baghdad for the build-up to Desert Storm.

Before that, Whitaker was based in Atlanta (1985-88), where he won an Emmy for his reports on the collapse of Jim and Tammy Bakker’s television ministry and covered the 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis. Whitaker joined CBS News as a reporter in November 1984.

Previously, Whitaker was a correspondent for WBTV-TV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, N.C. He began his broadcast journalism career at KQED-TV in San Francisco, where he was a producer, associate producer, and researcher/writer.

Whitaker has received numerous awards. He is most proud of his Emmy, Dupont and Peabody awards received for the 60 Minute episodes of The Whistleblower and Too Big to Prosecute. In 1997, Whitaker was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. In 2016, Whitaker was awarded a master’s degree in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a B.A. degree in American history and from Boston University with a master’s degree in African-American studies. In 2018, the Library of American Broadcasting honored Whitaker with the ”A Giant of Broadcasting and Electric Arts Award.” How appropriate.

Bill Whitaker literally was raised in Media, Pennsylvania as if a portent of things to come. Whitaker’s well-trod media career has taken him across the country and the world. Before joining 60 Minutes, Whitaker covered almost all of the major news stories in the West after he was posted to Los Angeles in 1992, regularly reporting for the CBS Evening News and other CBS News broadcasts. He has also worked for CBS Sunday Morning, turning out feature stories and thoughtful profiles on icons like Barbra Streisand, Norman Lear, and Gladys Knight. One of his most memorable Sunday Morning profiles was of ex-boxer Mike Tyson. He has also interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Whitaker’s 60 Minutes reporting has been equally wide-ranging and prolific. More than 50 percent of 60 Minutes broadcasts in the 2016-17 season contained segments reported by Whitaker. He has reported from Asia, Africa, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East, in his five seasons, including a timely investigation of the vetting process Syrian refugees undergo before coming to the U.S. and an interview with the highest-ranking North Korean official to defect in decades. His report on the biggest data leak in Swiss banking history won an Emmy.

His investigation with The Washington Post revealed how the DEA’s efforts to curb the opioid epidemic were hampered by a law pushed by drug industry lobbyists. The report was credited with forcing the law’s chief sponsor, a congressman, to withdraw his nomination for the Trump Administration’s drug czar.

Whitaker’s stories have also drawn attention to death penalty issues in the U.S., as well as America’s heroin epidemic. He received praise and was granted rare access on both sides of the border as he chronicled the epic battle to capture and hold Mexico’s infamous drug lord Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzman.

In 2008, he covered Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. He was also CBS News’ lead reporter covering the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush. Whitaker frequently reported from overseas as well, covering the funeral of Nelson Mandela from South Africa. He also did pieces from Japan on the Fukushima nuclear disaster and from Haiti after the tragic earthquake there. He reported from Kabul during the early stages of the war in Afghanistan.

Before his assignment to Los Angeles, Whitaker served as CBS News’ Tokyo correspondent (1989-92). There, he covered stories throughout Asia, including the pro-democracy uprising in Tiananmen Square, military coup attempts in the Philippines and the enthronement of Japan’s Emperor Akihito. He was in Baghdad for the build-up to Desert Storm.

Before that, Whitaker was based in Atlanta (1985-88), where he won an Emmy for his reports on the collapse of Jim and Tammy Bakker’s television ministry and covered the 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis. Whitaker joined CBS News as a reporter in November 1984.

Previously, Whitaker was a correspondent for WBTV-TV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, N.C. He began his broadcast journalism career at KQED-TV in San Francisco, where he was a producer, associate producer, and researcher/writer.

Whitaker has received numerous awards. He is most proud of his Emmy, Dupont and Peabody awards received for the 60 Minute episodes of The Whistleblower and Too Big to Prosecute. In 1997, Whitaker was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. In 2016, Whitaker was awarded a master’s degree in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a B.A. degree in American history and from Boston University with a master’s degree in African-American studies. In 2018, the Library of American Broadcasting honored Whitaker with the ”A Giant of Broadcasting and Electric Arts Award.” How appropriate.

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SPEECH TOPICS

Keep Calm America: It’s Going To Be Okay

A Conversation with Bill Whitaker