Erin Moriarty Of 48 Hours On The Five Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career As A…

Posted on

Erin Moriarty Of 48 Hours On The Five Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career As A News Anchor

… Another pivotal aspect is the love for meeting people. In our line of work, especially as a TV reporter, we get unique opportunities to converse face-to-face. Take our current interaction; it’s just you and me, genuinely engaging. This direct, often intimate connection, where individuals open up, is the primary reason I’ve pursued reporting for so long. If you’re genuinely curious about people’s lives and stories, that will undeniably set you up for success…

I had the pleasure to talk to Erin Moriarty. Erin, a CBS News journalist for three decades, has been a correspondent on “48 Hours” since 1990. In addition to reporting for “48 Hours,” Moriarty’s work is featured on all CBS News broadcasts and platforms, including “CBS News Sunday Morning,” “CBS Mornings” and the CBS News Streaming Network.

Moriarty is also the host of the true-crime podcast, “My Life of Crime.”

At CBS News, Moriarty has covered some of the biggest crime and justice stories of our time, including the wrongful conviction of Ryan Ferguson, the death of JonBenet Ramsey, the story of millionaire Robert Durst, and the controversial case of Brooke Skylar Richardson, a young Ohio woman tried — and acquitted — for murdering her newborn baby.

She has also reported on such major national and international news stories as the death of Princess Diana; the mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut; the Oklahoma City bombing; the war in Iraq; and the heist of artwork from the Isabella Gardner Art Museum in Boston.

Her reporting has earned Moriarty virtually every major journalism award available. In 2019, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. She’s won nine Emmy Awards; three Gracie Awards; she was part of the team coverage of the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school shooting which earned CBS News a 2014 duPont-Columbia award; and her work was part of “CBS News Sunday Morning’s” 2015 Daytime Emmy Award. In 2000 and 2003, she was honored with the Top 100 Award from Irish America magazine. And in 1988, Moriarty received the Outstanding Consumer Media Service Award presented by the Consumer Federation of America.

Moriarty began her career at CBS News in 1986, first as a consumer correspondent for “CBS This Morning” and then the “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.”

Drawing on her training as an attorney, Moriarty has examined some of the most important social and legal issues of the day, including wrongful convictions, cold cases, DNA testing of evidence in death-row cases and spousal abuse.

Prior to joining CBS News, she was an award-winning consumer reporter for WMAQ-TV in Chicago (1983–1986). She was also a reporter at WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio (1979–1980); at WJZ-TV in Baltimore (1980–1982); and at WJKW-TV in Cleveland, Ohio (1982–1983).

Moriarty was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She was graduated from Ohio State University, Phi Beta Kappa, with a degree in behavioral sciences and received a law degree from the university in 1977.

Follow and listen to “My Life of Crime” wherever you get your podcasts.

About 48 Hours:

“48 Hours” is one of the most successful law and justice programs in television history.

The enduring appeal of the program is based on original reporting and impact journalism. “48 Hours” has helped exonerate the wrongly convicted, helped solve cold cases, and is committed to investigating the most intriguing and compelling true crime cases.

Its influence and reach are widespread. The program’s episodes debut on the CBS Television Network before moving to platforms like Paramount +,, the CBS News Streaming network, Fave TV, Pop TV, and many versions of Pluto TV spanning various countries. Additionally, the show enjoys licensing in numerous countries globally. Its appeal doesn’t stop at television; “48 Hours” also produces podcasts and boasts substantial social media engagement, with certain highlights on platforms like Facebook and TikTok achieving impressive viewership.

The rich history of “48 Hours” begins with its creation by the former CBS News president, Howard Stringer. It drew its primary inspiration from the CBS News documentary “48 Hours on Crack Street,” which aired in September 1986. Although its format has evolved over time, the program remains dedicated to presenting crucial events and investigative stories, with a major focus on “true crime” documentaries in recent years.

Recognized for its quality content and reporting, “48 Hours” has been honored with over 20 Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, and an Ohio State Award.

Yitzi: Erin, it’s a delight and honor to meet you. Thank you so much for joining us. Before we dive in, I’d like to learn about your personal origin story. Can you share this story about your childhood and how you grew up?

Erin: I was born in Cincinnati but grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I’m the youngest of four girls and have a twin sister. I attended Ohio State and later went to Ohio State Law School. I always thought I’d stay in Ohio, but life took a turn, and I ended up here.

Yitzi: Can you share the story of what brought you to your career as an Emmy-winning journalist?

Erin: Interestingly, I never considered journalism as a career when I was in school or law school. I was practicing law in Columbus, Ohio. It was quite some time ago, and there weren’t many female lawyers around. I worked for a small law firm and genuinely enjoyed it. My dream was to be a litigator, but I sensed that many were hesitant to hire a young female lawyer. To increase my visibility, I came up with the idea to get my name out there. I learned that Westinghouse was launching a syndicated news program in various cities, including Columbus. Although I didn’t have a journalism background, I felt connected to the city and thought, “I know this place as well as anyone.” Surprisingly, they hired me. The initial goal was merely to promote my name. I retained my status with the law firm, but two significant shifts occurred: I fell deeply in love with storytelling, and my general manager eventually asked me to choose between practicing law and staying in television. Making the choice to transition to TV was daunting. For nearly 28 years, my whole life revolved around the dream of becoming a litigator. My aspiration was to follow in the footsteps of Perry Mason, a paradigm in the field. Choosing a new path was a bold move, but reflecting on it now, it was the best decision I ever made.

Yitzi: Amazing. So looking back, you probably have had so many fascinating adventures. Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Erin: Well, that’s a tough one. When I reflect on significant events that deeply impacted me, many might be surprised to know that one of the pivotal moments in my career revolves around the O.J. Simpson trial. Not necessarily for the reasons most people would think. While many were absorbed in the trial because of the football hero at its center, I was more drawn to the budding forensic science. DNA was just beginning to be used to prove someone’s guilt, but it also started pointing out potential miscarriages of justice, suggesting that maybe the wrong individuals were behind bars.

I began my journey in the late 90s, right after that trial, and became deeply involved in cases of wrongful convictions. That became the crux of my work. Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed 12 incarcerated individuals regain their freedom, and we’ve been able to make a significant difference in their lives.

Fast forward to today, the game-changer in forensics is genetic genealogy. It’s similar to what many of us might use on platforms like or 23andMe. But instead of just tracing our roots, investigators are now building family trees using DNA to track down criminals who have evaded capture for years, like the Golden State killer. For me, these are two monumental shifts in my career. They aren’t light-hearted stories, but they’re certainly the most significant.

Yitzi: Sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Do you have a story about a humorous mistake that you made when you were first starting and the lesson that you learned from that?

Erin: Well, yes, it actually put me on a different path. I began my career in Columbus, Ohio working on PM Magazine. It was a light entertainment show. Despite having my law degree and being a serious reporter at heart, I wanted to delve into news. Then I got a call from a station in Baltimore. They wanted me to come over and work as a general assignment reporter. The catch was, I’d never done anything like that before. So, there was a steep learning curve.

One particular evening, the assignment editor sent me to cover what was believed to be a riotous situation outside the baseball stadium. When I arrived, to my surprise, there was nothing of that sort happening. The assignment details were off, but there was still pressure to do a live shot. Imagine this: standing in an empty, dimly lit parking lot, with a camera light shining on me, tasked with describing a scene at 11 pm that I’d never witnessed.

While it might sound humorous now, it wasn’t at the time. The very next day, I walked into the office and told my news director that I couldn’t work like that. I didn’t want to be sent on wild goose chases. Instead, I wanted a beat where I could seek out and define the stories. The assistant news director, who happened to be a woman, suggested I become a consumer legal reporter. I immediately agreed. Since then, I’ve always looked for my own stories. And even if it’s challenging sometimes, I prefer it this way.

Yitzi: What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Erin: We’re kicking off our season with the Long Island serial killer story. I’ve been involved with it since the discovery of four young women who were murdered by one individual back in December 2010. Fast forward to now, and there’s a potential suspect in custody. The questions are: Who is he? What’s the evidence against him? Interestingly, if he truly is the serial killer, it’s unusual because most serial killers don’t start at age 43, which is his age during those crimes. Are there possibly more victims we don’t know about? In addition to that, I’m working on a two-part feature for Sunday morning focused on DNA and genetic genealogy. As always, I’m covering several trials for 48 hours. One particularly captivating case involves a man from Minnesota. He’s suspected of manipulating his young girlfriend into shooting his ex — and she did. Then there’s another peculiar case about a male nurse who might have staged his wife’s death to resemble a suicide. So, there’s a lot on my plate right now.

Yitzi: None of us can achieve success on our own. Is there a specific person you feel grateful to for the success you currently enjoy?

Erin: Absolutely. One of the challenges for most women from my generation is that there weren’t many female mentors, mainly because there weren’t many women in television back then. I often say I belong to the “second wave” in TV. Pioneers like Connie Chung and Lesley Stahl paved the way, and then my group followed. When I was in high school in Columbus, Ohio, there was this civic teacher named Patty Gableman. For some reason, she took a special interest in me. She once shared with me her dream of attending law school, a dream she had to forgo due to marriage and children. She encouraged me to pursue law, saying I’d do great. I’d probably mentioned my inclination towards it, and her belief in my potential left a lasting impact. Her words still resonate with me.

But to your point, you’re spot on: no one achieves success in isolation. The leadership at CBS News, like Andrew Heyward and Eric Ober, played significant roles in my journey. When CBS was about to launch “48 Hours”, Andrew Heyward and Howard Stringer approached me, even though I was primarily a consumer reporter back then. They saw something in me — my legal background, my passion, my work ethic. So I firmly believe no one makes it alone. It’s always due to someone taking a chance on you and believing in your potential.

Yitzi: So this is the signature question that we ask in all of our interviews. You’ve been blessed with so much success. Looking back to the beginning of your career, based on your experience, can you please share your “Five Things You Need To Create A Successful Career As A News Anchor”? If possible, please share a story or example for each.

Erin: I was pondering this very topic this morning.

  1. Firstly, without a shadow of doubt, curiosity tops the list. Let me illustrate with an anecdote. Besides my roles on “48 Hours” and “CBS Mornings,” I also contribute to CBS News Sunday Morning, which I genuinely enjoy. About five or six years ago, they tasked me with a story on the brand-new map library at the New York Public Library. My initial thought was, “Maps? I’m clueless about them; how will I ever cover this?” But as I delved deeper, the beauty, history, and evolution of maps captivated me. I became so engrossed that everyone had to bear my endless chatter about maps. The takeaway? A great story can be found in anything if you have the curiosity. I firmly believe that curiosity is the hallmark of a great reporter.
  2. Another pivotal aspect is the love for meeting people. In our line of work, especially as a TV reporter, we get unique opportunities to converse face-to-face. Take our current interaction; it’s just you and me, genuinely engaging. This direct, often intimate connection, where individuals open up, is the primary reason I’ve pursued reporting for so long. If you’re genuinely curious about people’s lives and stories, that will undeniably set you up for success.
  3. A sense of adventure is also indispensable. Our assignments can lead us to far-flung or even perilous locations. For instance, I was in Kuwait and Iraq in 2003. Our accommodations were makeshift, amidst a war zone, with all its challenges. Yet, witnessing and capturing major events firsthand and then sharing those narratives is immensely rewarding.
  4. Writing skills are paramount. While I don’t consider myself an exceptional writer, I pride myself on clarity. The joy of storytelling through words is essential in our profession.
  5. Lastly, having a solid support system of close friends and family is invaluable. Our work often plunges us into emotionally taxing situations. Sometimes the news uplifts, but many times it’s heart-wrenching. To thrive and maintain our well-being, we need loved ones to lean on, confide in, and share a laugh with.

Yitzi: According to a recent Gallup poll, about a third of Americans trust the mass media. As journalists, this is disheartening. As an insider, are there a few things that news anchors can do to increase the levels of trust? Can you give some examples?

Erin: That’s a challenging question. I’m actually surprised the trust percentage is even that high, given what I’ve observed. One interesting point to note is when covering crime and trials; for some reason, these topics often transcend political biases. I personally don’t encounter as much negativity as some reporters covering politics do. However, when I covered the inauguration, I distinctly felt the deep division that has affected our country.

I ponder this issue a lot. How can we bridge this gap? Whenever I interview people, and they label me as just another media person, I always remind them that I’m also a mother, a sister, and a daughter. I’m a human being first, striving to share a story. Being transparent is vital. Being forthright about the intentions of the piece, and how much of an interview will be used, builds trust.

Perhaps most importantly, admitting our mistakes is crucial. We’re not just reporters; we’re humans, prone to assumptions and errors. When we get something wrong, acknowledging it is essential. I’ve been with CBS for 37 years and have noticed a significant shift in the way people perceive the media. I’m proud to say CBS News has high journalistic standards and we work hard to be objective and unbiased in our reporting. I think we succeed in that. My hope is that by being transparent, spending quality time with people, responding to their queries, and showing them that I am doing my utmost as an imperfect human, we might rebuild some of that lost trust.

Yitzi: This is our second to last question. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most good to the most people, what would that be? Your idea could really make a difference.

Erin: That’s a challenging question. I’ve pondered it quite a bit. From my experience, I know many people who work in industries where everyone seems to have more than them. They might be interacting with CEOs who have vastly more resources and privileges. But through my work, I often encounter stories of people facing tragedies, and it offers me a fresh perspective on life.

If I could inspire people to, a few times a week, spend time with those who have less than they do, it would provide a vital perspective. This could mean supporting someone in a hospital or helping those affected by fires, hurricanes, or other disasters. I deal with these stories frequently, and amidst them, I meet many brave souls.

I believe that if people took a step out of their daily lives to spend time with someone who doesn’t have what they have, they’d find more contentment in their own lives. In doing so, not only do they help others find joy, but they also learn to value and appreciate what they have. True happiness can be elusive, but recognizing and valuing our blessings can be its own form of happiness. I genuinely believe that people would be less agitated if they saw others facing greater challenges or similar struggles.

Yitzi: This is our last question, our “matchmaker” question. Sometimes it sparks a connection! Is there someone, either globally or in the US, whom you’d like to share a private meal with, and why? They just might see this if we mention them.

Erin: That’s an enticing proposition. There are so many individuals I’d be thrilled to meet. But two people immediately come to mind. First is Michelle Obama. I’ve never met her, but I’m impressed by how she prioritized her family and country over her personal career. She raised two remarkable young women with the support of her mother, faced immense criticism with grace, and transformed from facing scrutiny to being one of the most beloved first ladies of all time. Meeting her would be an opportunity to learn from her resilience and confidence.

The second person is Angela Merkel. I’m fascinated by her perspective on current global events, Germany’s role, US politics, and much more. She’s someone I’d love to converse with.

Though there are many on my wish list, I must mention Madeleine Albright. I would’ve loved to meet her. Sadly, she passed away last year. She’s among those women who’ve navigated challenging environments with humor and tenacity. Those are the personalities I’d genuinely cherish spending time with.

Yitzi: Beautiful. Erin, how can our readers continue to follow your work online and on television?

Erin: Obviously, I’m on CBS News 48 Hours. I trade off with other correspondents, but CBS News 48 Hours is my home. I also do stories for Sunday morning. I’ve worked on a two-part series about genetic genealogy and solving crimes. It’s surprising that fewer serious crimes are being resolved these days, and many believe genetic genealogy could be the answer. My two-part series will be airing this fall on Sunday morning. So, my work can be found on “CBS News Sunday Morning,” “CBS Mornings,” “48 Hours,” and my podcast called “Erin Moriarty’s My Life of Crime”. Just to clarify, I don’t commit the crimes, I just cover them. So, if someone is looking for my work, it’s easy to find.

Yitzi: Wonderful. I wish you continued success in all your endeavors. I hope we can have another conversation in the future, perhaps in person next time.

Erin: Thank you for this opportunity. I’m not usually on this side of the interview, but I appreciate it. It’s incredible to think that shows like “48 Hours” and “CBS News Sunday Morning” have been on air for such a long time. Thanks for highlighting another season.

Yitzi: It’s genuinely my pleasure.

Erin Moriarty Of 48 Hours On The Five Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career As A… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.