Anderson Cooper: reporter with edge

By Megan Bernatavitz
March 5, 2009

Shannon Keough

Every night at 10 p.m. on CNN, Anderson Cooper graces our television sets. There are a few reasons why Anderson-we are on a first name basis in my world- is taking the news world by storm.

For starters, his knowledge in all matters makes him interesting to watch, he has come from everything yet worked the hardest to get where he is at and, of course, he is just down right fabulous.

In 11th grade, I was infatuated with the election of George W. Bush and John Kerry. I started watching the news to see who was ahead in the polls, etc. I turned on CNN to see what was going on with the 2004 election and there he was, this white-haired man who I would come to admire.

When I sat to watch him for the first time, I thought to myself, he really knows his stuff. I mean not only about the election but about all the topics going on in the news.

So, every evening at 10 p.m. I would watch “Anderson Cooper 360.”

It was one of the weirdest things I have done; I was actually interested in watching the news. My mom thought for the first couple of weeks I was watching it for a school assignment or something, she would check me every night and say, “Are you sure you are not sick?”

Anderson also taught me how to work hard for the things that I want in life. In his autobiography “Dispatches From the Edge,” he talks about growing up as a Vanderbilt. His mother is heiress Gloria Vanderbilt. Her lifestyle could be compared to the Paris Hilton of our generation-minus the scandalous tapes, pictures, etc. Needless to say the media thought his life would be the same.

Could you imagine, Paris Hilton and Anderson as BFF? Instead Cooper attended Yale University and after graduating started from the bottom up.

Anderson never had it easy in the world of broadcast journalism. Instead of sitting in the studio waiting for the story to come to him, he went out and presented the story himself. Even in his first job he went to Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda reporting on wars. He then took a break from serious journalism and did the ABC’s reality show “The Mole.”

After he accepted an offer to work for CNN, he started out on early morning television as a co-anchor, he then moved to late night news as the anchor for “Anderson Cooper 360.”

Being an anchor did not stop Cooper from bringing the news to us from many undisclosed locations. In his book he talks about going to countries such as: Shri Lanka, Lebanon, Africa, Iraq and his notable coverage in New Orleans.

His coverage of Hurricane Katrina really changed my view of Anderson. To me, he became much more than just a news anchor. His raw emotion in Louisiana made him my hero. He has risked his life in so many ways to show people the horrible things that are going on all over the world.

Lastly, Anderson is just great to watch. Who would you rather be watching, Anderson or Greta Van Susteren?

I’m sorry but she actually scares me and reminds me of Ms. Trunchbull from “Matilda.” I would rather watch someone who brings the news and looks good while doing it.

If I had one thing to say to Anderson, it would be thank you. Thank you for making me want to watch the news and know what is going on in the world; for risking your life to help me understand and get a glimpse of the things that are happening across the world; and for making me want to be a better person because of what you have done.

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Megan Bernatavitz

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