Tag Archives: CBS This Morning

David Pogue Spaces Out

The “06880” tagline is “Where Westport Meets the World.”

Today, Westport went beyond. We met outer space.

Let David Pogue — our Westport neighbor/tech guru (New York Times, Yahoo, Missing Manual books)/Scientific American writer, PBS “NOVA” science and tech correspondent, and (most importantly for this story) “CBS Sunday Morning” reporter — tell the tale.

David Pogue , reporting.

Reporting for “CBS Sunday Morning” is the best gig in TV journalism, hands down. The stories are long enough (6 to 9 minutes) to really develop them. There’s enough budget to travel, and shoot multiple interviews for each story. And you can pitch your own segment ideas.

In my 19 years as a “Sunday” correspondent, I’ve been to some exciting places and met some fantastic people. But nothing was as thrilling as making the story that aired this morning.

The idea was to report on an important milestone for the International Space Station: 20 years of continuous occupation by astronauts and scientists. Would NASA help us tell the story?

Yes, they would. They offered to make a 35-minute guided video tour of the station, conducted by Colonel Mike Hopkins and Commander Victor “Ike” Glover. And they offered me an interview with Mike and Ike, in space. A video interview. From my living room in Westport.

When I was 6 years old, my parents shook me awake one night so I could run to the TV to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing. Shortly thereafter, President Nixon, in the White House, made a phone call to Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. That technological, improbable feat left a powerful impression on my 6-year-old self. He made a phone call to the moon?!

And here I was, about to do the same thing — but over Skype! (Yes, NASA uses Skype. Not Zoom. I’m sure they have their reasons.)

There was a lot of prep. The audio would be 2-way, but not the video. I’d be able to see Mike and Ike on the station, but they would not see me. A couple of days in advance, my producer Alan Golds and I joined NASA for a practice call.

I was determined to make the most of my 20 minutes. I didn’t want to ask questions the astronauts had heard a thousand times. I didn’t want to waste time with queries whose answers anyone could find with a quick Google search. I asked my Twitter followers for suggestions (they came up with great ones). Not so much “Is it fun to float in zero gravity?”; more like “Is there any reason to wear shoes?” and “What do you miss most from Earth?”

I didn’t sleep much the night before the shoot. I really, really wanted to nail this interview. OK, sue me—I’m a space nerd.

Just another day in Westport: calling the International Space Station.

On the day of the shoot, CBS sent a camera crew to the house, to film my end of the conversation from 3 different angles. On the Space Station, they’d have only one fixed camera.

NASA requested that we place the Skype call a full hour before the conversation was to begin—and to place a cellphone call simultaneously, on speaker, as a backup. The interview would be limited to 20 minutes — not because that was all the time Mike and Ike could spare, but because the Space Station orbits the earth once every 90 minutes. Beyond 20 minutes, they’d be out of range of the satellite that beamed their signal back to earth.

NASA had also sent me a script as a Word document, indicating how to begin the call. Every audio or video call to Station begins with this exchange. (Yes, NASA refers to it as “Station,” not “the Station.”) Following the script ensures maximum efficiency and clarity:

Capcom: Station, this is Houston. Are you ready for the event?

Astronauts: Houston, this is Station. We are ready.

Capcom: “CBS Sunday Morning,” this is Mission Control Houston. Please call Station for a voice check.

Pogue: Station, this is David Pogue with CBS “Sunday Morning.” How do you hear me?

Station: (reports voice quality. If acceptable…) We are ready to speak with you.

Finally, at 1:25 ET, Capcom said the magic words — “Please call Station for a voice check” — and that was it. Mike and Ike appeared on my computer screen, and they began the interview.


The delay was about one second; it reminded me of making phone calls to Europe back in the day. But jokes still worked, and the conversation flowed nicely. In what seemed like a couple of minutes, it was time to wind it up.

I had just placed what must be the world’s first Westport-to-space video call. I still feel high as a kite.

(Watch the resulting six-minute “CBS Sunday Morning” story and full 20-minute interview below.)

Paige Kendig Produces This Morning

Paige Kendig was hired 4 days after she applied to the CBS News page program.

That’s a company record. And it had nothing to do with the fact that Paige was a page.

The 2000 Staples High School grad has been with CBS News ever since.

She started as “The Early Show” weatherman (and Weston resident) David Price‘s assistant. Her tasks ranged from getting his coffee and walking his dog, to traveling around the world with him and learning to be a producer.

Paige was always a quick study.

Paige Kendig, at the 2008 presidential inauguration.

“I spent the summer before sophomore year in high school in Kenya,” the former ski team member, diver, lacrosse player and Peer Advisor says. “That piqued my interest in the world. But I was too young to grasp everything.”

At Colgate she double majored in peace and conflict studies, and anthropology. Her thesis was on Rwandan genocide.

Though David Price was not a hard-hitting journalist, “I asked the producers questions like a 3-year-old,” Paige recalls. “They took me under their wing, and taught me.”

During Katrina, Paige sat in a small room for hours, watching feeds. She wanted to be ready for the next hurricane.

Four years ago, she was promoted to producer. Working with “Early Show” anchor Harry Smith, Paige started with light stories. But she moved on to the Gulf oil spill, presidential debates and the Haiti earthquake.

Every day is different. There are stories to plan, camera crews to assign, interviews to arrange and conduct, footage to log, scripts to write.

Paige Kendig is “CBS This Morning” cultural correspondent Wynton Marsalis’ producer. She touches up his makeup, as Paul Simon — yes, that Paul Simon — looks on.

Last January, the “Early Show” morphed into “CBS This Morning.” It was envisioned as more news-oriented than other morning offerings. Paige now works with co-anchor Charlie Rose.

And “work” is the right word.

One Saturday, the staff decided to interview King Abdullah II of Jordan. By Thursday, Paige was on a plane to the Mideast.

She’d had just 4 days to devise a 100-page document envisioning the entire trip. Who else would be interviewed? Where? She also helped create 80 or so questions for the king.

Paige Kendig in Iraq.

How does Paige know what to do?

“I don’t!” she laughs. “A lot of this you make up as you go along.”

Highlights of her career include 2 trips to Iraq. “I have such huge respect for the military,” she says. “It was incredible meeting people my age, who dedicate their lives to this.”

Brad Pitt’s interview was exciting. But nothing compares to her “dream story”: a sit-down with President Obama in the White House.

“That was amazing,” Paige says. “It was so rewarding. Producing a presidential interview had been my goal, and there I was.”

Being a morning show producer means insane, unpredictable  hours — and lots of them.

President Obama posed with Paige Kendig, and her CBS crew, following this summer’s interview. (Official White House Photo/Pete Souza)

“Your personal life can suffer,” Paige notes. “But I’m still young. I can hop on a plane just like that.”

Being young, she’s still got plenty of goals. Being a “60 Minutes” producer would be great. Right now, though, Paige is loving “CBS This Morning,” and taking each show one day at a time.

One action-packed, unpredictable, newsworthy day at a time.

(One of Paige’s projects is “Note to Self” — a series in which famous people write letters to their “younger” selves. Click here for a recent clip that kept Paige working until 3 a.m.)