Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Road Less Travelled to the Top

Anderson Cooper has every reason NOT to work for a living, let alone run around the globe covering the saddest stories on the planet. His latest series of reports from Niger? He got the idea to cover that story while vacationing nearby...in Rwanda! He is definitely NOT the typical trust-fund baby or "celebrat."

As a child of heiress Gloria Vanderbilt and author Wyatt Cooper, his life's path of luxury seemed pre-determined: he would join the ranks of the children of the elite who don't do much more than bounce from party to party with the occasional fund-raiser mixed in for good measure. Private schools followed by Yale added to his privileged profile. But instead of winters in the Alps and summers in San Tropez, he went to work for Channel One (a horrid development for schools but a great starting ground for Cooper and Lisa Ling among others) as a reporter, travelling the world. He later joined ABC news and now is a major talent on CNN.

Cooper made an appearance on Charlie Rose the other night talking about his reports from Niger, trying to make sense of the unexplainable tragedy. He also reminisced a bit about watching Peter Jennings work during his ABC years, including a memory of him ad-libbing at the major party conventions for 4 or 5 hours at a time.

So, here's what I'm thinking...with time and experience, Anderson Cooper could become something of an heir to Peter Jennings. His good looks (he is VERY cute, but probably not too interested in girls like me, ah...well...), his taste, style, and intellect could take him there, but without the edge Jennings eventually developed (Cooper IS sharp as a tack, though). Like Jennings, he loves his work and is a natural storyteller.

Even though he could use a few more years under his belt to earn true Cronkite-esqueness, Cooper should not be taken for a lightweight. There have been challenges. He lost his only sibling -- a brother -- to suicide at a young age, he saw his mother work hard to earn back the family fortune that had been dissipated over the years (hey, I bought the CUTEST pair of Gloria Vanderbilt flats in the 80s), and he DID host the first season of "The Mole."

Not like it's tough duty, but I'm going to keep my eye on Anderson. I think he's going places and wherever they may be, he's bound to find a good story.

2 Comments:

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Cooper does seem like a bright guy, but, just as I can't take Julie Chen seriously as a journalist since she does "Big Brother," it's hard to take Cooper seriously after doing "The Mole" (which, by the way, was a terrific show until they made it "Celebrity Mole"). Then again, I suppose I should get over myself... didn't Mike Wallace host some sort of game show in the 1950s?

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger Loganite said...

Let's all just consider Cooper's stint at "The Mole" as a lapse in judgment. He's a hard-core journalist again. I think some of his banter on "360" can cross the line of objectivity, but it is dang funny -- kind of like the allusions that Dennis Miller used on Monday Night Football a few years ago that were completely wasted on the audience. Cooper also spent a few too many Dan Rather moments out in a hurricane this summer. He'll get to the point where I like him regularly, but for now I just see him in small doses.

-- L.

 

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