Rutgers Journalism Graduate Films Extreme Sports in Bhutan

Rutgers Journalism Graduate Films Extreme Sports in Bhutan

T. Sean Herbert’s career as a network TV news producer and writer has taken him around the world

T. Sean Herbert, in Bhutan, filming the Bhutanese national sport, archery.

Photo: Courtesy of T. Sean Herbert

In the Department of Journalism at Rutgers' School of Communication and Information Herbert learned the intricacies of the television industry and acquired the skills to jumpstart his profession. 'Whether it was the lessons about ethics, news reporting and writing or working on deadline, every experience was a valuable experience,' he says.

From the Bhutanese Royal Wedding to a ransom trade story in Colombia, T. Sean Herbert’s journalism career has brought him to all corners of the world and to 49 of America’s 50 states.

It also has created a loaded resume for the Rutgers graduate who majored in journalism and political science, including experience at some of the largest news organizations. Currently, he’s a producer for CBS Evening News: Weekend Edition. In the post since November, Herbert takes hard news segments from concept to completion on a weekly basis.

That is his day job. His other job takes place about 7,600 miles from New York. As one of three partners in Thunder Dragon Films, Herbert makes promotional movies about Bhutan, a tiny kingdom in the eastern end of the Himalayas. It is known for its breathtaking scenery and the proficiency of its inhabitants in the sport of archery.

Herbert, who lives in Port Chester, N.Y., was introduced to the secretary general of the Bhutan Olympic Committee by a childhood friend who had been an economic adviser to the kingdom for several years. He traveled to the Himalayan kingdom for the first time in May 2011 to assist the Bhutan Olympic Committee promote sport in their country and abroad.

Since then, Herbert has returned five times, once to attend the Royal Wedding of Oxford-educated King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to a commoner, Jetsun Pema. He was able to take his family – wife Taryn of 17 years and their two children, ages 14 and 11 — with him.

“The best thing about my work in Bhutan was bringing my family with me,” he said. “But everything about the journey to Bhutan is memorable, from visiting other countries in the region like Nepal, India and Thailand to flying past Mt. Everest.”

Herbert also recalls another memorable moment: a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that struck the region of Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital. “I was in the second floor of a café, and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life,” said Herbert. “It was a deadly earthquake.”

There were no earthquakes to cover when Herbert was a Rutgers undergraduate. The School of Communication and Information's journalism department is where he learned the intricacy of the television industry and acquired the skills required to jumpstart his profession.

“Whether it was the lessons about ethics, news reporting and writing, or working on deadline,” Herbert said, “every experience was a valuable experience.”

 His fondest memory at Rutgers? Covering the 1989 NJ gubernatorial election for The Daily Targum.”

After earning his master’s at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Herbert found a place at CBS, where he spent 13 years producing for the election and survey unit, the foreign desk, special events and 48 Hours in addition to the weeknight edition of 60 Minutes.  He headed up the CBS News military analyst’s desk in January 2003 in preparation for the war in Iraq.

In 2004, Herbert left CBS to become news director at RNN-TV, an independent network and content provider t in the tri-state area. Shortly after, he became a producer at CNBC in 2006 and two years later joined ESPN, where he helped launch ESPN's TV newsmagazine, E:60.

Herbert left ESPN in June 2011 to work on independent assignments, including a documentary on post-earthquake Haitian amputees. He also worked on several projects with AXS-TV’s Dan Rather Reports and with Efran films, which produces documentary content for a variety of media.

So what’s next? “I expect to be in Bhutan again this year to move several projects forward,” Herbert reported. “We have produced the sizzle reel for the annual Tour of the Dragon bike race held each September.”

This one-day bike race is considered one of the most grueling events of its kind in the world. The race follows a 268-kilometer route over four high mountain passes.

This article originally appeared in Alum-Knights, Summer 2013 edition, Rutgers School of Communication and Information