40 years after Watergate, Bernstein to probe state of journalism in DePauw visit
In 1973, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of The Washington Post won a Pulitzer Prize for their investigative reporting that uncovered the Watergate scandal.
Forty years later, information is available from more sources than ever before via the Internet, yet newspapers are struggling and the future of traditional journalism is in question.
On Wednesday, Feb. 13, Carl Bernstein will come to DePauw University to ponder "The State of Our Information: Is Journalism Dead?" in an Ubben Lecture.
The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Meharry Hall at historic East College. Like all Ubben Lectures, it is presented free of admission charge and is open to all.
Few journalists in American history have had the impact on their era and their craft as Bernstein. For more than 40 years -- from "All the President's Men" to "A Woman In Charge" -- Bernstein's books, reporting and commentary have revealed the inner-workings of government, politics and the hidden stories of Washington and its leaders.
In the early 1970s, Woodward and Bernstein broke the Watergate story for The Washington Post, leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and setting the standard for modern investigative reporting, for which they and The Post were awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
Since then, Bernstein has continued to build on the theme he and Woodward first explored in the Nixon years -- the use and abuse of power: political, media, financial, cultural and spiritual power.
Renowned as a prose stylist, he has also written a classic biography of Pope John Paul II, served as the founding editor of the first major political website and has been a rock critic.
The author of five best-selling books, Bernstein is currently at work on several multi-media projects: A dramatic TV series about the U.S. Congress; a feature film with director Steven Soderbergh; and a memoir about growing up at a Washington newspaper during the Kennedy era. He also appears regularly on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine, and has been an on-air political analyst for CNN.
His most recent book was the national bestseller "A Woman In Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton," acclaimed as the definitive biography of its subject. The Los Angeles Times called it "engaging and illuminating; it stands as a model of contemporary political biography."
With Woodward, Bernstein wrote two classic best sellers, "All the President's Men" (also a movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman), about their coverage of the Watergate story, and "The Final Days," about the denouement of the Nixon presidency.
Woodward came to DePauw as an Ubben Lecturer in 1994 to discuss "The Press and the Presidency."
Since his famous essay, "The Triumph of Idiot Culture," a 1992 cover story for the New Republic about increasing sensationalism, gossip and manufactured controversy as staples of the American press, Bernstein has proved a prescient critic of his own profession.
"We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture," Bernstein wrote. "Not an idiot sub-culture, which every society
has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal."
DePauw is the birthplace of the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ). The organization, which was founded by student journalists at DePauw University as Sigma Delta Chi (SDX) in 1909, is the nation's most broad-based journalism organization.
Established in 1986 through the generous support of 1958 DePauw graduates Timothy H. and Sharon Williams Ubben, the Ubben Lecture Series was designed to "bring the world to Greencastle" and presents events which are available for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the local community to enjoy.
As previously announced, world-renowned conservationist Jane Goodall will give an Ubben Lecture at DePauw on Wednesday, April 17, to discuss "Sowing the Seed of Hope."
Over the past 26 years, Ubben Lecturers have included: Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto, Elie Wiesel, Gen. Colin Powell, John Major, Barbara Bush, Spike Lee, Mike Krzyzewski, Jesse Jackson, Ross Perot, Mitch Albom, Peyton Manning, Gen. Wesley Clark, Lee Hamilton, Willy Brandt, Karl Rove, Howard Dean, Todd Rundgren, Shimon Peres, Ralph Nader, Harry Belafonte, Jane Pauley and many others.