Rita Braver on her 50 years at CBS News

It is exactly 50 years ago today that I started working for CBS News.

It also happened to be the day that Alabama Governor George Wallace, segregationist candidate for president, was the victim of an assassination attempt. CBS turned out to be the only network to get that footage, thanks to the intuition of one of our veteran cameramen, and I watched in awe as the best news organization in the business sprang into action.

It was my introduction to the kind of teamwork that goes into every aspect of every story.

Over the years, I got to cover some of the biggest events of my lifetime, starting – when I was just an apprentice on the news desk – with Watergate.

Rita Braver as a law correspondent for CBS News in the 1980s.  / Credit: CBS News
Rita Braver as a law correspondent for CBS News in the 1980s. / Credit: CBS News

I would go on to become a producer, and then a correspondent on the law beat, where I reported on major stories, like the conviction of Reagan administration operative Oliver North in the Iran Contra scandal.

I also covered the U.S. Supreme Court, breaking in with a bulletin, in 1992, when the justices decided a key abortion case, upholding Roe v. Wade.

Later, as chief White House correspondent, I would travel the world covering President Bill Clinton. Sobering to look back at how, during Clinton's first Moscow summit with Russian President Boris Yelstin in 1994, the relationship between those two presidents seemed to signal a new era of understanding between the United States and Russia.

So much has changed.

When I started, we shot our stories on 16 millimeter film. If we needed to call in from the field, we had to find a pay phone. There were no computers, much less internet. Yet, we got our stories in every day.

My reward for years of jumping out of bed whenever a story broke was the chance to work for "Sunday Morning."

We really work hard, but where else can you talk with a legend, like Barbra Streisand

Or walk with a hero, like John Lewis?

We meet policy makers (Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice) and music makers (Stevie Nicks, Smokey Robinson) … get to question artists (Titus Kaphar), actors (Robert Redford) and authors (Philip Roth).

Plus, we get to meet everyday Americans, such as those attending the 2017 Women's March in Washington.

And the bonus is that I get to work with some of the smartest, nicest people you can possibly imagine.

That first day was really the beginning of my 50-year love-affair with CBS News. Like my marriage, which started about the same time, it's had its highs and lows, some exasperating moments, and some too magical to ever forget.

Yet, I count myself lucky, after all these years, to have the kind of job I always dreamed about.

Story produced by Robert Marston. Editor: Mike Levine.

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