By Chelsea Coleman —
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 has also created a loaded resume for the J/MS 1990 graduate, including hands-on experience at some of the largest news corporations today. Currently he is 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 and one that excites him perhaps more than breaking news has taken 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, NY, 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.
“In May 2011, I traveled to the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan for the first time,” explained Herbert. “I went to assist the Bhutan Olympic Committee to promote sport in their country and abroad. Along with two partners, we created Thunder Dragon Films to oversee those projects in Bhutan.”
“Everything about the journey to Bhutan is memorable.” —Sean Herbert
Since his first trip in May 2011, Herbert has returned five times, one time 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 to the October 2011 wedding.
“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 J/MS undergraduate. The department is where he learned the intricacy of the television industry and acquired the skills required to jumpstart his profession in journalism.
“Whether it was the lessons I learned about ethics, news reporting and writing, or working on deadline for The Targum,” Herbert said, “every experience was a valuable experience.”
He added, “My fondest memory from my days at Rutgers was my time covering the 1989 NJ gubernatorial election for the Daily Targum.”
After graduate school 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 Investigates” in addition to the weeknight edition of “60 Minutes.”
In 2004, Herbert left CBS News to become news director at RNN-TV, an independent network and content provider that operates in the tri-state area. Shortly after, he became a producer at CNBC in 2006 and two years later went to work as a producer at ESPN.
With a few years in the industry under his belt and a new project developing, 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 high quality documentary content for different forms 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, if not the most grueling, in the world. It follows a 268-kilometer route over four high mountain passes.
Herbert will continue to work on his projects in Bhutan in the near future.