May 15, 2020
By Guy Campanile and Mitch Weitzner
The special ‘Bravery and Hope: 7 Days On The Front Line’ details a week in the life of medical staff at the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis.
In Making it Work, creatives and decision-makers from across ViacomCBS describe how they turned an idea into a reality. In this installment, we spoke to Guy Campanile and Mitch Weitzner, two longtime CBS News staffers, who served as executive producers on the upcoming CBS News special “Bravery and Hope: 7 Days On The Front Line.” They spoke about how they were able to report from inside Montefiore Medical Center amid the COVID-19 crisis. The special airs Friday at 9 p.m. EST on CBS. CBSN, CBS News’ 24/7 digital streaming news service, will present the special Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17 at 10 p.m.
"The physical and psychological demands were unlike anything I’ve experienced before… My brain was firing on all cylinders at all times."
We reported in bursts of two to three hours at a time and it was completely exhausting. The physical and psychological demands were unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I can’t understand how nurses and doctors can wear gowns, gloves, N-95 surgical masks, and face shields for 12-hour shifts. I had to continually try to keep my mind on what was going on around me and where the risk was, while also trying to focus on creating the best possible story. My brain was firing on all cylinders at all times.
One thing that stayed with me was watching CPR being performed on a coronavirus patient. Every compression pumps the virus into the room, directly at those doctors and nurses who are inches away from that patient. It was just astonishing. I've been impressed by our service men and women in harm's way before, but this is different because it's so intimate. Despite being surrounded by something they've never encountered before, they continue the work together. They remain hopeful that they'll get a handle on it and that the world will get a handle on it.
Weitzner: Every part of the special was produced remotely. We were able to produce this without entering our CBS News headquarters and the remarkable thing is that the viewer will never know the difference. You can’t tell by looking at the documentary that it’s been produced in a way that’s different than anything we’ve done before.