Interview: CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley on his new book, Truth Worth Telling

Posted at 11:52 AM, May 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-18 13:06:49-04

(WTVF) — Scott Pelley is no stranger to CBS News, having been a correspondent and anchor for the network - which NewsChannel 5 serves as an affiliate - for nearly 30 years. Over that span of time, Pelley has met many people, seen many events unfold and disseminated those stories to the American public as necessary. To chronicle some of the stories which have impacted him the most, he has written Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter's Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times.

Truth Worth Telling is an autobiography that's about the people Pelley has been around during his time as an anchor for CBS News and a correspondent for 60 Minutes, more than it is about himself. NewsChannel 5's Rhori Johnston had the opportunity to interview Pelley about Truth Worth Telling, gaining some insight into his new book.

When asked about the curious subtitle of the book, Pelley explained what he hopes to accomplish with Truth Worth Telling.

"I wanted to write a memoir, but I didn't want to write a memoir that was about me," Pelley said. "It did occur to me that I had met the most fascinating people in the world in my career in journalism. The chapters are organized as short stories, and each chapter is named after a virtue."

Pelley offered two examples. The book's first chapter is titled "Gallantry," and it's about what the correspondent saw at the World Trade Center on 9/11, as he witnessed the fire fighters of the fire departments of New York charge into the dangerous zone to save others' lives. The chapter on the Sandy Hook shooting is titled "Perseverance," because after the parents of victims took their fight for tighter gun control to Capitol Hill and come back with nothing, now they're going to schools and teaching about warning signs, persevering despite their loss.

"That's what I mean about finding meaning. One of the things we talk about in the book is, don't ask the meaning of life; life is asking, what's the meaning of you? These are the people who discovered their own personal meaning during the great events of our times."

With that, it becomes clear that the main theme of Truth Worth Telling is strength through adversity.

Speaking on his own inspiration, Pelley says the correspondent at CBS News he learned the most from is Bob Simon, who taught him what it means to be a war correspondent, the risks that go along with it and the importance of it.

"When America goes to war, all of America should go. We should all have a stake in the war that our country is fighting, and the way America goes is through independent, reliable reporting by war correspondents with boots on the ground."

Pelley assures that his book has lighter content, too, such as the chapter called "Authenticity," which is about what he learned about the creative process from Bruce Springsteen in the time he has spent with him in the past. Truth Worth Telling also features a chapter that covers what he hopes to teach the new generation of journalists.

Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter's Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times wil be available in stores and online on May 21. For the full interview with Scott Pelley, watch the video above.