Looking for a news scoop? Look no further than CNN’s Anderson Cooper. The silver fox turned his news anchor persona into a bona fide celebrity.
Cooper’s not a stranger to the spotlight, though. His mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, was a fashion designer and heiress. Growing up in a wealthy family led to certain privileges for the young Cooper, but he’s not afraid to act like an average Joe, especially when it comes to his air travel.
Anderson Cooper’s storied career
Cooper’s silver spoon childhood started with him attending a private prep school, followed by an African trip after graduation, and culminating in his attendance at Yale University. Although he pursued political science in college, Cooper started work at Channel One, a news agency that broadcasts youth-oriented news throughout schools across the country. He filmed various up close and personal stories throughout war-torn regions, like Rwanda and Somalia, and spent a good amount of time in Asia, documenting everyday life.
After growing accustomed to witnessing everyday violence, Cooper knew he needed to make a change. He took a job as a news correspondent with ABC News before co-anchoring World News Now. He also dabbled with side projects like hosting the reality show The Mole. After 9/11, Cooper knew he had to get back into broadcasting and signed on with CNN.
At the burgeoning news network, Cooper made a name for himself. Initially working alongside Paula Zahn as an anchor on American Morning, he also became the main weekend news guy. His on-air success led to his own show, Anderson Cooper 360°. The coverage showcased Cooper’s reliability and trustworthiness, while he reported on hard-hitting stories like Hurricane Katrina, the Sri Lanka tsunami, and the Cedar Revolution in Beirut.
Flying around the world and making passengers nervous
His job takes him around the world, and Cooper spends plenty of time in an airplane. But just because he’s a prominent news guy doesn’t mean he only flies first class. In a Q&A with Wired via YouTube, Cooper was asked if he flew commercial. “Of course. Yes. I work for basic cable. I fly commercial certainly when I pay my own way, I can tell you that much.”
He goes on to say that other passengers are often nervous when they see him on the plane, and for good reason. He reports on big news stories and not always the most uplifting ones at that. Passengers question if something bad is happening at their destination when he walks by. Cooper understands their concerns, it’s a valid point, but a guy’s still got to fly.
A snippet of some of the intense news stories he’s covered
Showing real emotion while reporting the surrounding devastation from Hurricane Katrina helped solidify Cooper’s likability as an anchor. He demanded action from government officials when seeing the destruction and talking with locals. His empathy towards the struggles real people deal with in the face of these disasters is what turns people onto his broadcasts. While other reporters are often stiff, Cooper is full of emotion — and it’s genuine, not something contrived just for the camera.
During an interview with Joplin, Missouri locals after a deadly EF-5 tornado hit their town, Cooper worried about their well-being, telling interviewees to get to safety when warning sirens shrieked around him. He also worried about family pets and asked concerned animal lovers how their precious pals were doing.
During the BP oil spill in the Gulf, Cooper wanted to know whose fault it was. He wasn’t just reporting but trying to get to the bottom of the debacle. That’s part of the reason so many viewers trust him.
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