Crosscut Talks

Carl Bernstein on the Past and Future of News

July 13, 2022

The legendary journalist, who helped change the industry with his reporting on Watergate, talks about how journalism changed his life.

Carl Bernstein is best known as one half of the investigative team that broke the Watergate scandal, which eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Fifty years later, it is still regarded with reverence by both those who practice journalism and those who consume it.

That is partially because the story of that reporting is dramatic, enough to fuel a bestselling book and hit film. But mostly the reporting on Watergate continues to resonate because it so clearly changed the course of American history. In the parlance of newsrooms, what Bernstein and his reporting partner, Bob Woodward, did at the Washington Post in the early ’70s was high impact journalism. 

None of that is news to anyone. But that isn’t the story Bernstein shares in this episode of the Crosscut Talk podcast. Instead, he tells the story that came before the story, of his earliest days in a newsroom, at the Washington Star, in the early ’60s. 

It’s the subject of his recent memoir, Chasing  History: A Kid in the Newsroom, and it’s a jumping-off point here — in this interview with University of Washington professor Matthew Powers — to talk about the evolution of the journalism industry, the public’s regard for the news and what it means to search for the truth. 

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Credits

Host: Mark Baumgarten

Producer: Sara Bernard

Event producers: Jake Newman, Andrea O'Meara

Engineers: Resti Bagcal, Viktoria Ralph

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