Laurie Segall, On Her Work As A Correspondent For 60 Minutes+
Someone once told longtime technology journalist Laurie Segall that she’s basically the human equivalent of an ellipsis, which might sound to you and me like the most esoteric compliment you could possibly give someone but which Segall decided is tantamount to a badge of honor.
If you think about what an ellipsis is, or rather what it represents — those three dots in a sentence that suggest there’s more to come, something unsaid and not yet revealed — it’s the kind of high praise that doesn’t get much higher for a journalist like Segall, who ended up baking this identity into the name of a company she founded (the media and content production studio Dot Dot Dot). Indeed, throughout a reporting career that’s also included a stint as CNN’s senior technology correspondent before joining CBS News in 2020, Segall has exulted in the imperfect, unsettled gaps demarcated by journalistic ellipses — which is to say, figuring out how to uncover a story, or to tell the rest of it. And it’s a passion for deep-dive journalism that still pervades her work today, as a correspondent for the new streaming iteration of 60 Minutes, which lives on CBS’ still relatively new service Paramount+.
In keeping with the nomenclature that so many streamers have now accustomed us to (Apple TV+, Disney+, ESPN+), this new streaming spinoff of the venerable CBS newsmagazine tacked a plus sign at the end of its name to give us 60 Minutes+, which launched a couple of months ago and is built around the slower, more long-form reporting of correspondents like Wesley Lowery — who, as part of a recent package for 60 Minutes+ took a closer look at the surge in hate crimes against Asian-Americans, inspired partly by the Atlanta spa shootings but also the acts of violence that have taken place sporadically across the country in recent months. The 60 Minutes+ reporting team also includes correspondents Enrique Acevedo and Seth Doane — as well as Segall, who as part of a new 60 Minutes+ report available starting today, spent time exploring the strange, buzzy new world of NFTs.
That acronym (which stands for Non-Fungible Token) might not mean anything yet to the general public, but it sits at a fascinating nexus of technology, the creator economy, and digital ownership. Viewers of Segall’s 60 Minutes+ piece that’s streaming now will, among other things, come to learn more about artist Michael Winkelmann, AKA Beeple, thanks to Segall’s access to one of the wealthiest artists you’ve never heard of — he recently spawned countless headlines around the world after selling a piece of art, entitled “Everydays,” as an NFT for the staggering sum of $69 million.
“I don’t think I’ve been this excited by a technology story in ages,” Segall told me in a phone interview. “Because this really feels like we’re genuinely entering another era of the Internet.”
Along those same lines, this is definitely a new era for one of the most storied brands in journalism, which has developed a kind of spin-off version that will exist for streaming audiences and is meant to be a more in-depth version of the legacy 60 Minutes brand (though CBS folks will, of course, stress to you that one is not meant to be a replacement for or better than the other. That, in fact, 60 Minutes+ is an “extension” of the former, sharing the same values and journalistic mission).
In explaining why she feels like reporting for 60 Minutes+ is nothing less than a “dream job,” Segall told me: “I’m someone who has covered technology my whole career and has said we can’t simplify these issues. There’s a lot there. And the format of 60 Minutes+ gives us the ability to go there. We don’t have to cram complicated topics into two- or three-minute soundbites. If you want to do a really interesting explainer or long piece or profile, you have the ability to. And people are watching them. It’s great.”
The segments are also longer on 60 Minutes+, and, as noted, they’re accessible via Paramount+ which is the rebranded CBS All Access streaming platform with plans that start at $5.99/month, or $9.99/month for the ad-free subscription tier. In addition to the news show, a subscription also gives users access to thousands of TV episodes and live sporting events, as well as movies from CBS, Paramount Pictures, MTV, Comedy Central, and more.
Segall juggles the demands of reporting for the new program with leading Dot Dot Dot, which she launched at the end of 2019 — not long before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic which generated the ironic consequence of decimating so many news organizations’ plans for the year but also produced an appetite among more people than ever for authoritative, high-quality news and information. Segall’s company has produced podcasts like First Contact, distributed by iHeartMedia
Her work at 60 Minutes+ is merely an extension of all that. “These are human stories, and they’re as human and visceral as it gets. In many ways, technology is a backbone to these stories. That’s my way in. That’s my edge, my niche. And my favorite interviews are when I’m sitting across from someone, having a real, human conversation especially when the stakes are high.”
And when she can add something on the other side of those three dots. Whatever comes next, whatever fleshes out the rest of the The Story — or a completely new and unexpected one.