April 2023

The FCCJ’s Randy Schmidt wins award for coverage of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

Randy Schmidt holding his Emmy statuette

CBS cameraman and editor Randy Schmidt knew covering the Beijing Winter Olympics wasn’t going to be easy. What he didn’t know was that it would contribute toward winning the 2022 Emmy Award for Outstanding Live News Program. 

As a pandemic raged, the Olympics competitions and press events would unfold inside areas sealed off from outsiders. This also meant a lot of Covid tests. Schmidt took 29 of them in 24 days. And the Games’ organizers allowed no fixed camera positions – a rule that added hours of work building and striking down lights, cameras and LiveU transmission device for each shoot.

It was a grueling assignment that began each day with a 6 a.m. throat swab in the parking lot of his hotel.

Those are some of the memories that came back to Schmidt in November when he got an email saying the CBS Mornings program had won an Emmy. He's the only person at CBS News who works as both a cameraman and editor, and the only one in the category of Cameraperson/Editor to receive the award.

The intensity of the Beijing Olympics assignment wasn’t that unusual for Schmidt, who has worked across Asia covering geopolitical events such as the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and disasters across the region, including the 2011 tsunami and earthquake in northeast Japan.

“I'm honored to receive the Emmy and personally look at it as a lifetime achievement award,” Schmidt said.

Judges at the 43rd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards selected CBS Mornings over nominees ABC World News Tonight, Anderson Cooper 360 and NBC Nightly News and CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper.

The show won the Emmy and the show decided which staff should receive the statuettes, according to Schmidt. Many fellow CBS staff members also received the award, including camerapersons and editors, although Schmidt is the only one in the company who performs both jobs.

As an FCCJ stalwart, Schmidt can often be found in the main bar, but working through lunch at his laptop, rather than drinking. He also stays busy as a director at large on the club’s board, often attending meetings via Zoom from trains, planes and hotel rooms across Asia.

He has also shown up in front of the camera on CBS from time to time. On the final CBS broadcast from the Beijing Olympics, Schmidt answered the anchorwoman’s request that he step out in front of the camera after weeks of staying behind it. CBS National Correspondent Jamie Yuccas gives Schmidt and the show’s producer a shout out here at 2:09:

Congratulations, Randy! 

Dave McCombs is a rewriter at NHK World and founder of Julio Platforms, a startup that provides student news media programs. He is a director-at-large on the FCCJ board of directors.