It was a pleasure to sit with my friend Brooke Anderson, a two time Emmy winning Entertainment Tonight correspondent and co-host. She is a true example of where grace and kindness collide with integrity and hard work. Please tune in to the podcast for the full interview. It is filled with words of wisdom from a woman who has mastered the difficult task of balancing a successful career with her family… her family being her proudest accomplishment. I hope you enjoy her as much as I did!
You graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, was this always your plan or did you, like many of us, make that decision after you started your college career?
“I always had an interest in what was happening in the world. As a kid, I remember conversations at the dinner table with my parents centering on current events and critical moments that would become history. I knew there was a bigger world and I loved learning about other cultures and perspectives, so yes I’ve always had the hunger to be on the cutting edge of news and events.”
Can you tell us more about your experience at the Grady College of Journalism, any mentors or internships that played a critical role in your success?
“Grady is one of the most distinguished journalism schools in the country and was a major reason I chose to attend UGA. My professor in Broadcast News, David Hazinski, was instrumental in inspiring me to work hard and never stop, both in college and after graduation. He held our feet to the fire and accepted nothing less than our very best. I felt prepared for the real world after completing that program.”
How did you make the transition from UGA to CNN and what would be your best piece of advice to young journalism majors who aspire for a career in reporting?
“I interned at CNN in Atlanta after my junior year and have had wonderful mentors at CNN throughout my career. The internship was critical and allowed me not just to learn with the show I was assigned (CNN’s “Talkback Live”), but I would stay late and shadow people in other departments … writers, producers, editors, and whoever else I could convince to let me hang around and ask questions. I am forever grateful to those people because I know I was a disruption to their jobs!”
“After graduation, I worked the entry-level position of editorial video journalist for CNN Newsource (an affiliate service to local 15” which was part of the Broadcast News curriculum my senior year. I became her first fill-in when she was on vacation. After she took a job at E!, I was offered the position of correspondent while also writing, producing, and booking for myself. I eventually also became co-anchor of HLN’s “Showbiz Tonight” then made the jump in 2011 to syndication with CBS Television Distribution, first with “The Insider” and then with “Entertainment Tonight” where I still work!”
“In terms of advice, learn as much as you can. Make yourself as valuable as possible. Don’t just know how to do one thing. Learn all the jobs. You are more marketable that way. Also, it’s important to know the schedule can be grueling and unpredictable … the job takes tenacity, persistence, and dedication. If you have the passion, go for it!”
I think I would fail our readers if I didn’t ask you what has been your most memorable moments of your career thus far?
“I had the opportunity to fly with the Air Force Thunderbirds over Death Valley pulling close to 9Gs during the high flying maneuvers. I am so grateful I did not get nauseous as there were cameras trained on me the entire time! I went skydiving to overcome my fear of heights (didn’t work), went jet-packing with Disney star Zendaya, and I joined a Zero Gravity adventure high above Los Angeles with director James Cameron to replicate his film Avatar. He was tossing me around like a beach ball!”
“I have traveled to Dubai to interview Tom Cruise. There I went to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Fashion Week in NYC has always been thrilling. The Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France is a favorite assignment as well as the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. I have interviewed politicians, celebrities, and regular people. First Lady Michelle Obama, U2’s Bono, Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Beyonce … just some of my faves.”
“Other unforgettable memories include hosting the Thanksgiving Day Parade live on CBS, being selected by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for their Oscar Correspondent Contest’s Blue Ribbon Panel, being chosen by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association to be one of six journalists to present the Golden Globe Awards during the Writer’s Strike, plus fun roles and cameos in the films ‘Get Him to the Greek’, ‘White House Down’, and the TV show ‘Days of Our Lives’.”
Check out my full interview with Brooke Anderson on Bulldawg Illustrated On-Air’s SoundCloud Channel: