The Slatest

Slate’s John Dickerson Named Anchor of CBS’s Face the Nation

John Dickerson.


Slate’s long-time chief political correspondent, John Dickerson, is taking over for Bob Schieffer as the next anchor of CBS’s Face the Nation. Dickerson has been the political director at CBS since 2011 and has already anchored the Sunday morning show several times. Dickerson’s Slate fans need not worry—he will continue his writing and podcasting work for the magazine as a political columnist after he assumes the host’s chair. (He has promised not to ask for a red carpet when he visits the Slate offices but we’ll let you know if that changes.)

“Now the obvious question is, who’s going to take this seat? I’m happy to say the answer is my friend CBS News political director John Dickerson, who’s been on this broadcast 83 times and he sure has the right bloodlines,” Schieffer said in the middle of the program on Sunday. “John, we’re proud to have you”

Dickerson joined Slate after a 12-year stint at Time, where he was the magazine’s White House correspondent for his last four years on the job. He later joined CBS News in 2009, a professional affiliation that also had deep personal connections. Dickerson’s mother Nancy became the first female correspondent of CBS News in 1960. “I grew up hearing about CBS,” Dickerson told TV Newser in 2009. “When Mom started, she worked with Ed Murrow and Eric Sevareid and Don Hewitt. She revered them. That was the sort of water I grew up in.” He wrote a book about his mother, On Her Trail, which was published by Simon and Schuster in 2006.

Long before he joined CBS, Dickerson was already widely praised for his interviewing skills. “The master of the game is John Dickerson of Time magazine, who has knocked Bush off script so many times that his colleagues have coined a term for cleverly worded, seemingly harmless, but incisive questions: ‘Dickersonian,’ ” wrote Mike Allen in a 2004 Washington Post piece about White House reporters. In the piece, Allen described how Dickerson’s “disarming charm” meant that despite his tough questions he was still “one of the few reporters whom Bush and his staff actually like.”

Network bosses said that Dickerson’s experience as a reporter was crucial in the selection. “John is first and foremost a reporter—and that’s what he’ll be as anchor of Face the Nation,” said CBS News President David Rhodes. “His work in the studio will always be informed by what he’s learned in Iowa, in New Hampshire, on Capitol Hill—anywhere there’s news. He has earned the respect of newsmakers across the political spectrum. With all our correspondents John will present comprehensive coverage on all our platforms.”

This post has been updated since it was originally published.