Does 60 Minutes Pay For Interviews? The Inside Scoop On 60 Minutes’ Interview Process

60 Minutes has been a staple of investigative broadcast journalism since it first aired in 1968. Known for its hard-hitting interviews and in-depth investigations, 60 Minutes has broken major stories and featured exclusive interviews with presidents, world leaders, celebrities and more.

But does 60 Minutes pay for interviews? Here’s a quick answer: No, 60 Minutes does not pay for interviews directly. However, the show does pay production costs and may compensate interview subjects indirectly in some cases.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at 60 Minutes’ interview and payment process. You’ll learn how the show gets high-profile interviews, whether they pay guests directly or indirectly, how much they spend on production costs, and more insider details about television’s most acclaimed news magazine.

How 60 Minutes Gets Interviews

Getting exclusive interviews with high-profile individuals is a key aspect of 60 Minutes’ success. The show has a reputation for its in-depth interviews with some of the most influential people in the world. But how does 60 Minutes manage to secure these coveted interviews?

Leveraging CBS News Resources

One of the main reasons 60 Minutes is able to land high-profile interviews is its affiliation with CBS News. CBS News has a vast network of journalists and producers who work tirelessly to secure interviews and gather information.

This extensive network allows 60 Minutes to tap into valuable resources and connections that can help them secure interviews with influential individuals. By leveraging the power of CBS News, 60 Minutes is able to gain access to exclusive interviews that other news organizations may not have.

Persistence and Negotiations

Securing interviews with high-profile individuals often requires persistence and skilled negotiations. The team at 60 Minutes is known for their relentless pursuit of interviews. They work tirelessly to reach out to potential interviewees, often going through multiple channels and making numerous calls before they are successful.

Once they have made contact, negotiations can begin. The team at 60 Minutes understands the importance of offering something valuable in return for an interview, whether it be airtime or the opportunity to address a specific topic.

These negotiations can be complex and time-consuming, but the team at 60 Minutes is skilled at navigating these conversations to secure the interview they desire.

Appealing to Egos

Let’s face it, high-profile individuals often have large egos. They are used to being in the spotlight and having their voices heard. 60 Minutes understands this and knows how to appeal to the egos of potential interviewees.

They highlight the prestige and reputation of the show, emphasizing the fact that being interviewed by 60 Minutes is a mark of distinction. This approach can be highly effective in convincing influential individuals to grant an interview.

Promising a Big Audience

One of the biggest draws for potential interviewees is the promise of a large and engaged audience. 60 Minutes has a loyal following of viewers who tune in each week to watch the show. By appearing on 60 Minutes, high-profile individuals can reach a massive audience and have their message heard by millions of people.

This kind of exposure can be extremely valuable, especially for individuals who are looking to promote a cause or share their story. The team at 60 Minutes understands the power of their audience and uses this as a selling point to secure interviews.

Securing interviews for 60 Minutes is a complex and strategic process. The show’s affiliation with CBS News, persistence and skilled negotiations, appealing to egos, and promising a big audience all play a role in their success.

By employing these tactics, 60 Minutes continues to secure exclusive interviews with some of the most influential people in the world.

60 Minutes Policy on Paying Sources

When it comes to paying sources for interviews, 60 Minutes has a strict policy in place. Let’s take a closer look at how the renowned news program handles compensation for their sources.

No direct payments

Contrary to popular belief, 60 Minutes does not pay sources directly for their interviews. The program prides itself on its commitment to ethical journalism and believes that paying for interviews can compromise the integrity of their reporting.

Instead, they focus on conducting thorough research, investigations, and interviews to uncover the truth.

Paying for production costs

While 60 Minutes does not pay sources for their interviews, they do cover certain production costs. This includes expenses such as travel, accommodations, and any necessary equipment. By covering these expenses, the program ensures that sources are not burdened financially and can fully participate in the interview process.

Compensating whistleblowers

In some cases, 60 Minutes may offer financial compensation to whistleblowers who provide valuable information that leads to groundbreaking investigative reports. This compensation is not a payment for the interview itself, but rather a way to recognize and support individuals who take significant risks to expose wrongdoing.

The amount of compensation, if any, is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Putting sources up in hotels

In addition to covering travel expenses, 60 Minutes also arranges accommodations for sources who may need to stay overnight for interviews. This ensures that sources are well-rested and can fully engage in the interview process without any added stress or inconvenience.

It’s important to note that the policies and practices of 60 Minutes regarding payment for interviews may change over time. For the most up-to-date information, it is always best to refer to the official 60 Minutes website:

How Much 60 Minutes Spends on Production

When it comes to producing high-quality investigative journalism, 60 Minutes is known for its commitment to excellence. The show’s production process involves a significant investment of time, resources, and money.

Let’s take a closer look at the costs associated with producing segments for 60 Minutes.

Average costs per segment

On average, a single segment on 60 Minutes can cost anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million to produce. These costs include research, pre-production, filming, editing, and post-production. The show’s team of producers, correspondents, camera crews, and editors work tirelessly to ensure that each segment meets the high standards set by 60 Minutes.

The show’s commitment to quality journalism is reflected in the amount of time and effort that goes into each segment. The team conducts extensive research, interviews multiple sources, and fact-checks every piece of information before it goes on air.

This thoroughness is one of the reasons why 60 Minutes has maintained its reputation as a trusted source of news and information for over five decades.

Travel costs

One of the factors that contribute to the overall production costs of 60 Minutes is travel. The show’s correspondents and producers often travel around the world to cover stories. From remote locations to war zones, they go wherever the story takes them.

Travel costs can include airfare, accommodation, transportation, and other expenses. These costs can vary depending on the location and the duration of the assignment. The show spares no expense when it comes to ensuring that their journalists have the resources they need to cover stories accurately and thoroughly.

High-end productions

While the average cost per segment provides a general idea of the production expenses, it’s important to note that some segments may have significantly higher budgets. These high-end productions often involve complex storytelling, extensive travel, and cutting-edge cinematography.

For example, in 2018, 60 Minutes produced a segment titled “The Stormy Daniels Interview” which gained nationwide attention. This high-profile interview with the adult film star involved additional legal and security considerations, which likely added to the production costs.

Furthermore, high-end productions may require special equipment, advanced technology, and additional crew members. These factors can drive up the overall cost of production, but they also contribute to the show’s ability to deliver compelling and visually stunning segments.

Ethics of Paying News Sources

When it comes to news reporting, one of the most debated topics is whether or not news outlets should pay for interviews. This is especially true in the case of popular news programs like 60 Minutes. Let’s take a closer look at the ethics surrounding paying news sources and how it relates to 60 Minutes’ interview process.

Industry standards on payments

In the world of journalism, it is generally considered unethical to pay sources for interviews. The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a leading organization in the field, states that journalists should “avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived” and that “journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.”

Furthermore, many news outlets, including 60 Minutes, have strict policies against paying for interviews. This is to ensure that the integrity of the reporting is not compromised and that the information provided is unbiased and truthful.

Pitfalls of paying sources

There are several reasons why paying sources for interviews can be problematic. Firstly, it can create a conflict of interest for both the journalist and the source. If a source is receiving payment for their story, they may be more inclined to embellish or exaggerate the facts in order to make their story more appealing to the news outlet.

Additionally, paying sources can also undermine the credibility of the news outlet. If it becomes known that a news organization is paying for interviews, it can raise questions about the reliability and objectivity of their reporting.

This can ultimately damage the reputation of both the outlet and the journalists involved.

Justifying payments in rare cases

While the general consensus is against paying for interviews, there are some rare cases where it may be justified. For example, if a source is in significant danger or facing severe repercussions for speaking out, compensating them for their interview may be seen as a way to protect their well-being.

However, even in these exceptional cases, news organizations must carefully consider the potential ethical implications and weigh the importance of the story against the risks of paying for information.


In summary, 60 Minutes has a clear policy against directly paying sources for interviews. However, they do incur significant production costs for high-profile interviews and will occasionally compensate whistleblowers or pay for incidental costs like lodging.

By leveraging CBS News’ vast resources and capitalizing on their huge audience, 60 Minutes is able to land news-making interviews without cutting checks directly to sources.

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