The Washington Post announced Tuesday that national correspondent Wesley Lowery will leave the news organization to work for a new CBS News show on Quibi. What’s Quibi, you ask? Here’s an excellent explainer. As its name suggests, the show, 60 in 6, will wedge 60 Minutes-style reporting into six-minute segments.
The projects Lowery’s best-known for at the Post have been huge data-driven affairs like a police shootings database (for which Lowery and the team on the project won a Pulitzer) and the Murder With Impunity series, a Pulitzer finalist. Lowery, 29, has been a TV talking head for a few of years, but when Washingtonian got him on the phone, I said I hadn’t realized he was interested in TV as a form of storytelling.
“I don’t know that I realized it, either,” he says. “I like going on TV, and I did CNN as a contributor for a few years. But it’s more that my interest has always been finding the best way to tell stories. Because when you tell a big, complicated story on [TV] you have a lot of impact.”
Lowery plans to stay in DC and will parachute out to do national stories, much as he’s done since he was a congressional reporter and stumbled into getting his boots on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. He won’t have a lot of time to learn the ropes of television correspondency—60 in 6 is scheduled to debut in April. He says he looks forward to learning from his new colleagues: “Getting a crash course from the 60 Minutes correspondents, I mean, Come on!” he says, adding that he absorbed lessons from “the best reporters in the country” at the Post.
He won’t start that job until the third week in February. In the meantime, he says he has a good amount of work yet to finish at the Post, including another involved project. “I’m not leaving the Washington Post and taking all my notebooks with me,” he says.
I asked him what he’s most proud of over his six years at the Post. “When I got to the Post, the Post was very soloed, and with every single project I’ve tried to break those silos down,” he says. Not only did teams across the newsrooms collaborate on his biggest projects, he’s particularly pleased that interns got bylines on them. And, he says, he’s thrilled the paper has begun to open up its data sets, a tradition that’s continued with recent blockbuster projects like the Afghanistan Papers and the Opioid Files. “I hope I have been a force in arguing internally that we should show our work to readers,” he says.
Lowery says Post management was supportive of his next move and that he still considers himself part of the family. “They’ve watched me grow up in a lot of ways,” he says of his colleagues. And in the future, he says, “It’s not as if the Post and 60 Minutes haven’t worked together in the past.”