Engaging with Viewers, Trying to Solve Cases: How ’48 Hours’ Uses Social Media

By Chris Ariens 

CBS News executive Susan Zirinsky joined the network in 1972 — when there were three networks and one screen. Fast forward 40 years and Zirinsky, who now holds the title of executive producer of special projects for both CBS News and CBS Entertainment, has become one of the savviest social media executives around.

In an interview with our sister blog SocialTimes, Zirinsky, who oversees “48 Hours Mystery,” says she didn’t embrace social media for the ratings it might provide her TV show: “I’m doing social media because I want us to be part of the world’s discussion about law and justice,” she says.

“We’ve landed at the beach in Normandy, everybody’s dead and I’m taking over the island,” says Zirinsky. “So is now not an option if you’re on my staff. This is part of your job.”


Zirinsky got her start in social media doing Web companion pieces for the CBS nuclear war drama “Jericho.” Unable to use any of the actors or clips from the show, Zirinsky grabbed all the secretaries in the office and shot interviews based on “Jericho’s” story line and themes. After 22 episodes, the “webumentary” took off. “The series on the Web got more attention than the TV series,” Zirinsky remembers.

“You’d have to be an ostrich, if you’re in the media business, to not sense the ground opening and the social revolution bubbling up,” says Zirinsky.

It’s worth the read, here.