CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who delivered the seventh annual Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture to an audience of 900 in UCLA's Ackerman Grand Ballroom Sunday, said that as a journalist he may not be able to save lives or change the course of history, "but I can bear witness to people's struggles and tell their stories."
He added that it is easy for everyone to turn away from the plight of others, but journalists have an opportunity to bring those stories to light.
In his lecture, Cooper described how he created his own opportunities as a journalist straight out of college, sneaking into Burma armed with only a political science degree and a fake press pass a friend had made for him. He said that although he graduated from Yale University, he felt he was truly educated in Somalia, Burma and other war-torn areas he reported from early in his career.
In response to questions from the audience, Cooper said he thinks there is far too much shouting on television and that he believes audiences today want the facts and not just to hear anchors talking. He said audiences need to see situations from many different angles and that he tries to provide this in his reporting. He also advised young journalists starting out in today's Internet world to set up a blog and make a name for themselves online, and to report about people and stories they have access to that others may not.
Daniel Pearl was a prominent Wall Street Journal reporter and the paper's South Asia bureau chief when he was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in early 2002.
Pearl's father, Judea Pearl, a computer science professor at UCLA, and his family established the Daniel Pearl Foundation to promote and continue Daniel's mission of fostering cross-cultural understanding throughout the world. The lecture series, established at UCLA in 2002, features scholars, journalists and policymakers who have contributed original analyses or constructive approaches to problems of international concern.
The lecture series is sponsored by the Daniel Pearl Foundation, UCLA's Burkle Center for International Relations, the Hillel Jewish Students Association and the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA.