On Monday, 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl and the newsmagazine’s executive producer Bill Owens honored their late, longtime CBS News colleague Bill Plante at Loyola University of Chicago. The event marked the donation of Plante’s official papers to his alma mater.
CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O’Keefe, Plante’s wife Robin Smith and investigative reporter for CBS2 – WBBM TV Dorothy Tucker joined the Bill Plante Conversation to celebrate the donation of his papers and discuss the journalistic skills and values Plante brought to his work.
According to the Loyola press release, “Meticulous notes from Bill Plante (BS ’59) spanning half a century of the renowned journalist’s career covering breaking news from the civil rights movement to four presidencies will find a home at Loyola University Chicago. Plante’s widow, Robin Smith, is honoring the first anniversary of her husband’s passing by donating his notebooks, calendars, correspondence, and CBS News story scripts to the University.”
Plante retired from CBS News in 2016 after a whopping 52 years at the network. He joined CBS News on June 1, 1964 as a New York-based reporter/assignment editor—and would spend the next five decades with the network, traveling to Vietnam on four separate occasions (1964, 1967, 1971-’72, 1975) and Iceland, to Moscow and Teheran. He’d cover every presidential campaign from 1968 through 2016, serve as a CBS News White House correspondent for four Presidents—and anchor the CBS Sunday Night News from 1988 to 1995.
In 1965, Plante interviewed Dr. Martin Luther King on the march from Selma.
The recipient of countless top journalism awards over his career, including multiple Emmy honors and a lifetime achievement award from the White House Correspondents Association, Plante was recognized by the WCHA as someone, “beloved in the press corps for his kindness, but [who] didn’t pull punches with the politicians he covered.”
He told TVNewser in 2014, “I learned from people like [Mike] Wallace, [Walter] Cronkite, from many others. I learned what was expected of good reporters. It isn’t something you can commodify easily, but you watch them work—and you see what their standards are … and you hold yourself to those same standards.”
Bill Plante passed away from respiratory failure in September 2022 at the age of 84.