By Carlin Fitzpatrick, GCC Student
Bob Berkowitz, a former CNN White House correspondent, ABC News reporter, and "Today" show host exposed the naked truth about what it takes to be a successful journalist during a recent talk with Gateway Community College students.
On Nov. 17, Berkowitz sat for an interview with the Journalism 1 class at Gateway and answered a wide range of questions.
"I'm always grateful when young people say they want to be journalists,” he said. “It's not easy. It's gratifying as it can be. It's rewarding, and it's frustrating."
Berkowitz began his career as a talk radio host in Denver and San Francisco. When his boss asked him to join him as a national news editor for AP Radio, he quickly evolved into the Chief U.S. Senate and political correspondent. He covered national presidential and senatorial campaigns.
"It was a very exciting new journalism experience for me," he said.
According to Berkowitz, journalists must adhere to facts rather than opinions. Also, double-check that your sources are educated about the subject by interviewing people who have credentials.
"Get as many sources as you can and try to give both sides of an issue," Berkowitz said. "Make sure everyone has a chance to give their point of view."
As a White House correspondent, Berkowitz felt he was being fed news. Therefore, he said: "You have to go below the surface and find out what's really going on. Find sources who you trust and who trust you. Learn to tap into other reputable sources."
One of his most memorable stories was covering the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley in Washington DC in 1981. He witnessed the shooting and later spent weeks at George Washington University Hospital as the president recovered.