Tulsa Native Helps CBS News Correspondent Report From 'On The Road'

Friday, June 29th 2018, 6:19 pm
By: Dave Davis

CBS's Steve Hartman goes On the Road every week, determined to find the good in our world.

And if you've ever been glued to the TV or shed a tear waiting for the ending of one of his stories, as an Oklahoman you should also be proud, because a Tulsa native is working right beside him. Producer Katie Brennan helps Hartman bring his stories to life every Friday.

"They think we have dozens of people scouring the country for great stories. There is no huge staff. The staff is Katie and freelance cameraman Bob," Hartman said. “There's nobody better at convincing folks that it's going to be a simple, down-home chat than somebody who comes from Oklahoma and is down-home herself."

The Cascia Hall graduate left her college campus early to pursue her dreams in New York. She’s moved up from being an intern at CBS Evening News to becoming the producer of Hartman’s wildly popular series, On the Road - a position Brennan has held for two years.

"I admired Steve for a really long time and I love his type of story-telling, and I think he's an incredible writer," she said.

And the admiration is mutual.

"Pretty much every great story you can think of from the last couple years has been Katie's," Hartman said.

It’s also obvious Brennan, Hartman, and “cameraman Bob” have a lot of fun working together.

"We have a cameraman who's been with Steve for 20 years On the Road, so they've seen it all together. And they're also best friends," Brennan said.

Hartman said, "We could do without him, really. Truth be told, cameramen are a dime-a-dozen."

Brennan: "He [Steve] doesn't even have Google Maps on his phone. He just uses, like, Apple Maps and he doesn't really know how to use that either.”
Dave: “So, two people, who are bad at directions, trying to find somewhere in the middle of nowhere.”
Brennan: “Trying to find somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Yes. That's been interesting."

As Brennan reads newspapers from around the country, and viewer mail to find their next story, she's focused on one mission, "We more focus on people doing really kind things for each other. And I think that's really, really important in this day and age," she said.

Brennan said one story, though, helped change her worldview.

How a suspicious Facebook message from Liberia sparked an unlikely partnership

The story shows how Ben from Utah looked past what he first thought was an internet scam, to change the life of a man named Joel, who lived half the world away. Today, Joel pays forward that kindness in his impoverished community.

"Maybe just judge a little less next time that you open up, and kind of see where other people are coming from," Brennan said.

Brennan said she loves her job, but Hartman also recognizes the career of the rising Oklahoma star is only just taking off.

"Katie may have made her first mark with the On the Road segment, but it's not the last we're going to hear from her," he said. "She told me she wanted to be President of CBS News one day, and I'm treating her very well because I believe she may be."