By Admir Durakovic
(NEWARK, N.J.) – Bob Woodward, a legendary investigative journalist
and an associate editor for The Washington Post, is known for his work and
the influence he has on journalism. However, I will remember him as the person who quoted his editor saying “Where’s the f***ing story?”
Attending his lecture at the NJ Speaker Series at the NJ Performing Arts Center on Nov. 21 was an incredible honor and I have to thank Christopher Groff, director of corporate and foundation relations, at FDU, for the opportunity.
I got to speak to Woodward and listen to him talk about his experiences, theories and ideas, as well as how he presents them. This has helped me to see my future as a journalist.
Woodward has covered eight presidents since Nixon and Watergate.
The featured speaker addressed the audience at NJPAC on a Thursday night. He was the third speaker in a lineup that includes actor Jason Alexander, “Seinfeld’s” George Costanza; United States Secretary of State John Kerry; and former US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
He spoke for approximately one hour before answering questions submitted by the audience. The discussion was moderated by Steve Scott, a radio anchor for WCBS Radio.
Woodward had personally asked me to submit a question on the future of journalism, so I wrote,”Are there opportunities in the field?” My question was not selected during the Q&A portion of the presentation. I’m not bitter.
At the end of the evening members of the audience formed a line in order to have their picture taken with the main speaker. While in line, an attendee said there had never been as much interest in a guest speaker before.
Woodward was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for the work he and Carl Bernstein did in uncovering Watergate, but his influence in journalism goes well beyond the work at the start of his career.
Before his speech, the special guests had a behind- closed-doors roundtable discussion, off-the-record dinner with him.
In a setting where typically the highlight speaker would be fielding questions from the rest of the guests at the table, Woodward actually took over a more dominant role. Acting as a moderator, he polled the 30 people in the room their opinions on a variety of political topics.
Woodward also gave his own input, but it was obvious that everyone
was in the presence of a seasoned journalist. Despite being a young journalist, I had noticed that Woodward was gleaning as much as he could from the discussion.
Being able to contribute to the discussion and speak on behalf of the students, not only at Fairleigh Dickinson University but on this generation as a whole, was an incredible honor.
As probably the only person in the room who hasn’t yet completed his college education, I was able to offer a unique perspective on the topics at hand, especially as to how
they pertain to our collective future.
Woodward presented his take on the social political climate. While I did not agree with how he ranked each discussion topic, I was in awe of how he presented his thoughts and ideas and it was a great learning experience in presentation and critical thinking.
The NJ Speaker Series is hosted by FDU and the fact that they invite students to have an up-close experience with the guest speakers is both an honor and a privilege. I can only thank FDU, President Capuano, and Christopher Groff for the opportunity, as well Professor Krochmal and the rest of the professors I’ve had while studying at FDU who helped me along the path of journalism.
An event like this is major, not only for the university, but also an incredible opportunity for the students chosen to be involved and in attendance. As a journalist, I could only walk out of the Performing Arts Center more prepared to enter the professional journalism field.