Watergate reporter inspires young journalists at conference

Bob Woodward Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Kalyn Story | Staff Writer

WASHINGTON – Bob Woodward shared his journalism expertise with college reporters from all over the country at the Associated Collegiate Press National Media Convention in Washington DC on Friday.

Woodward told stories from his journalism career and took questions from the audience. He asked the audience to remember two things, that history is never over and to never stop writing.

“Be tough, keep talking to people, don’t let people push you back,” Woodward said. “The purpose of an education is to learn to think for yourself, to break out of groupthink. Educate the public with your writing.”

Woodward began reporting for the Washington Post in 1971 and is now an associate editor of the Post. Woodward has won several journalistic awards but is probably most famous for the work he did as a reporter with the Post in 1972 while working with Carl Bernstein. Woodward and Bernstein broke the story of the Watergate Scandal and did much of the original reporting that lead to President Nixon’s resignation.

Laura Widmer, Associated Collegiate Press director, introduced Woodward by saying his name is, “synonymous with investigative journalism.”

When giving advice on how to get sources to talk, Woodward encouraged journalists to listen to everyone around them, and they’ll get the story.

“People want someone to listen to them,” Woodward said. “Sit still in the life of the person you are writing about. Use the power of silence, let the silence pull out the truth. The truth always emerges, whether it takes a month or years.”

When Woodward and Bernstein were breaking the Watergate story, they used an anonymous source, famously nicknamed “Deep Throat,” who was only recently revealed to have been Mark Felt, former FBI associate director.

Brandi Doyal, Tulane University senior and editor-in-chief of the Tulane Hullabaloo, called Woodward one of her journalistic heroes and said it was a dream of hers to hear Woodward speak in person.

“I think it’s amazing that he would come and speak to us today,” Doyal said. “He’s inspiring to be around. Being around an inspiring person makes everyone reach higher. He decided to be excellent. Having him here reminds me that I need to push myself further and strive to be excellent as well.”

Bob Woodward and the Watergate Scandal were the subject of the award-winning book and movie titled “All the President’s Men,” in which Woodward was played by Robert Redford. Woodward has authored or co-authored 18 books, 12 of which have been best-sellers.

Woodward made crucial contributions to two Pulitzer Prize-winning stories in the Washington Post. He was the main reporter covering 9/11 for the Washington Post, for which it won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for 10 of its stories on 9/11.