What do you believe?
Cynthia McFadden is an anchor and correspondent for ABC News who currently co-anchors Nightline and Primetime. Recently named co-anchor of “Primetime” on ABC News, she has been at that network since 1994, when she joined as a legal correspondent. She became a correspondent for “PrimeTime Live” in 1996, and in 2005 she was named co-anchor of ABC News “Nightline.
McFadden has conducted numerous interviews with politicians and cultural figures from Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf to Madonna. She was the legal editor and narrator of the ABC News documentary series “In the Jury Room,” the first television program ever to show jury deliberations in a death penalty case. The hour-long documentary she co-anchored on school integration 50 years after Brown v. Board of Ed has won several awards, including first place documentary from the New York Association of Black Journalists; in 2001-02, for her reporting on 9/11, McFadden and her ABC team received a Dupont Award. McFadden's other awards include the George Foster Peabody Award, an Oversees Press Club Award, six Cine Golden Eagles, the Ohio State Award, two Silver Gavels from the American Bar Association, the Grand Award at the New York Festival and the Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival.
Cynthia McFadden has appeared as a guest on numerous talk and news shows, including 20/20 and The Charlie Rose Show. Before joining ABC, from 1984-1991, she was the executive producer of Fred Friendly's Media and Society seminars, based at Columbia University, and she became an anchor and senior producer at Courtroom Television in '91, the year of that network's inception. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Bowdoin College, and received her law degree from Columbia University.
Question: What do you believe?
Cynthia McFadden: I would say the guiding . . . the guiding idea for me in story selection is, “Is it something I care about? Is it something I care about?” And if it’s something I care about, I gotta believe that there’s somebody else somewhere that cares about it, too. And that seems so simplistic. It isn’t always easy to tell. And is it something not only that I care about, but that I can add something to? You know any night we could fill the broadcast with, you know . . . Take the front page of the New York Times. We could do the broadcast on any one of those stories. Take Charlie Gibson’s evening news. Of the probably sort of eight to 10 stories he does every night, we could do an entire half hour of “Nightline” on one of those stories. But we have to be able to advance it. We have to be able to bring something new to it. And you know when we sit down for our editorial meeting in the morning, and the question is, you know, what’s happening in the West Bank, what can we bring to it? Can we add to it tonight? Because to just report what’s been reported all day isn’t good enough, you know? So that eliminates a lot of things because there’s a lot of times we’re not in the right position to be able to add to. And some nights we say, “You know what? Tonight we can’t add to the West Bank story.” But how do we get someone in a position to be able to? Is there some way we can look at it? Is there some prism, some way we can reflect the light to look at this story in a new way to bring new insight? I have to say just this week Terry Moran went over to London. And of course there had been so much reporting on the bombings – the summer bombings. And Terry did a super piece. It was just terrific. He walked around London talking to people from various ethnic backgrounds about what this was doing to the fabric of society in London, and what is was doing turning one against another. It was a very interesting . . . It was a simple idea, but very effective.
Recorded on: Jul 7 2007
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