CBS News announced on Thursday that Caitlin Conant will be the news organization’s new political director. Conant is currently the executive director of communications in Washington for CBS News and has been with the outlet since May 2016. As political director, she will help
Unlike most political directors, Conant does not appear to have any journalism experience. Prior to working at CBS News, Conant handled communications for Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign and Senator Rob Portman.
The political director in most news organizations is the one of the top positions in the Washington bureau, typically reporting to the bureau chief. Conant will now hold one of the top political journalism positions in CBS News without journalism experience. From her biography, the closest it seems she has gotten to actual journalism is “editorial planning” for Face the Nation.
CBS News did not respond to a request about her lack of journalistic experience.
CNN’s political director, David Chalian, worked for NY1, ABC News, PBS NewsHour, Politico, and Yahoo! News before coming to CNN as political director. NBC News’s political director, Chuck Todd, worked at National Journal before joining NBC News. ABC News’s political director, Rick Klein, has been with ABC News as a journalist since 2007 and before that was a Washington reporter for the Boston Globe.
CBS News fired their political director, Chris Chaggaris, in January over allegations of “inappropriate behavior.”
“Caitlin’s background in national politics and her experience here at CBS News give her the strengths and perspectives to be a superb political director – we are all very excited that she will be leading our political coverage as we head into what will certainly be a fascinating and challenging political cycle,” said CBS News Washington bureau chief Christopher Isham.
“After nearly a decade on Capitol Hill and presidential and Senate campaigns, I joined CBS News and the world of media,” Conant said in a statement. “Nearly two years later, CBS News feels like home. I am honored and humbled to take on this new role, and am eager to continue to work with my colleagues here as we prepare to cover the critical midterms and the exciting election season to come.”