Adriana Diaz: “Paris crawls under your skin takes up residence in your heart and never leaves.”
Readers might recognize her as the anchor of the Saturday edition of the “CBS Weekend News,” but in addition to reporting on COVID-19, Chicago gun violence, and the Flint water crisis, Adriana Diaz “had the pleasure of going to Sciences Po twice.” As a junior at Princeton, she spent the fall semester in France and “can still remember the magic of that semester in Paris.” Out of four study abroad choices, she says, “I chose Paris, and thank goodness, because it was just the most magical experience ever.”
After graduating and spending a year working at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street, Diaz returned to Sciences Po to get her Master in Public Affairs. For anyone to be able to participate in the education system of another country and another culture, “it just blows open your brain to all of the different ways that students can learn,” she says. Diaz remembers the impressive level of knowledge of her Sciences Po classmates, which gave her “an incredible appreciation for the French education system” with its strong emphasis on analysis and critical thinking.
Diaz’s experience of living in Paris taught her an appreciation for the now, for “enjoying the moment, enjoying a walk, enjoying the little things, and enjoying each other.” Coming from the US education system, she recalls her shock upon learning that the Sciences Po library is closed on Sunday. “It taught me an important lesson,” she adds. “In that society, Sundays are sacred, and you can’t expect the world to revolve around you.” When she returned for graduate school, Diaz “did what every self-respecting American living in Paris does: went to cafes, let time tick away and enjoyed my friends, conversation, and wine, and walked all around the city.” She especially enjoyed taking a modern dance class at Sciences Po. “It’s one thing to operate within society,” she says, “but when you take a class in the arts in another language, it’s just a whole different experience.” She also got a job as a waitress at an American diner called Breakfast in America, another experience that gave her “a deeper sense of being a participant in society.”
Diaz applied to the dual degree program with Columbia’s Master of Public Administration for her second year of graduate school. While in New York, she interned at NBC News. The “opportunity to be able to be in New York where all the news networks were and get an internship while finishing grad school” gave her a foot in the door to the world of journalism. She worked her way up to reporter at Channel One News, an in-school news program produced by NBC at the time. At CBS News, she worked as a digital journalist, an off air entry-level position where she traveled the country with her camera, filming parts of stories for CBS correspondents. From there, she was able to work her way up, becoming a reporter doing stories that aired on local CBS stations. In 2014, CBS News transferred Diaz to Chicago, where she reported as an official national correspondent for CBS This Morning and the CBS Evening News. Her next move took her to Beijing, where she served as Asia Correspondent for CBS, using her previous experiences studying Mandarin at Princeton and interning at CNN in China. In 2017 Diaz moved back to Chicago, where she married and still lives with her husband.
After nearly a year of covering the pandemic, including entering hospital Covid units and covering Covid’s disproportionate impact on minorities, last year Diaz was named the anchor for CBS’s Saturday national evening broadcast.
In her current role as anchor of “CBS Weekend News,” Diaz finds it especially rewarding to be able to help shape the show and to “be part of the conversations: What is our lead story? What should be the overarching feel of the show? What is our tone?” She loves broadcasting from Chicago, which she believes “gives the middle of the country a much-needed focus.” It’s “a nod to our amazing viewers in the heartland,” she adds. Diaz herself also does one story every Saturday, usually a feel-good piece. As for the most challenging part of her role— “just trying to get it right every Saturday,” she says. “Do we have the right lead? Do we have the right mix of stories? Are we sure that we've covered everything?”
Diaz credits Sciences Po with opening her horizons and making her the person she is now. “It expanded my view of the world, and it made me want to be a global citizen,” she says. The friendships from Sciences Po that she has to this day, stretching from Argentina to Geneva, give her a more global way of thinking. “I think that I try to apply that to all of my work,” she adds.
When asked for her advice for current Sciences Po students and young graduates, Diaz replies:
It's really challenging, but it's an amazing challenge. It's so fulfilling in all facets, not only academic, but also social, emotional, and cultural. It was so much more than just an academic experience; it was a real-life experience.
For American students in particular, she reminds them to “enjoy every moment” and to “enjoy the holistic experience, both in school, on the streets of Paris, and in French culture” so that they can integrate themselves into that world as much as possible. “Paris crawls under your skin takes up residence in your heart and never leaves.”