What sparked your interest in journalism?
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 sparked your interest in journalism?
Cynthia McFadden: You know I was very interested in the lives of others. And I was very interested in telling stories. You know Lyle Denniston, who was a fabulous reporter for the Baltimore Sun, once said that a journalist is really just a little kid in the neighborhood who wants to be the first one in the morning to run down the street and say, “Guess what I know?” And I certainly have that gene. I’m not sure that journalism is much . . . You know journalism is a drug. It’s a drug. The best ones have to do it. They have to tell the story, and that’s how I feel about it. Peter Jennings used to say when kids would write him and ask how they became network anchormen, he would say, “There is no such job as anchor. There’s merely the job of reporter. And if you are a good enough reporter, you might get asked to be the anchor, which should only be that you now are allowed to tell more of the stories as a reporter you wanted to tell.” And I hope I’ve used that in the last five or six years to tell more of the stories that I want to tell.
Recorded on: Jul 7 2007
A journalist is really just a little kid who wants to be the first one to run down the street and say, "Guess what I know?"
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