Bob Woodward at Poynter: Watergate, Washington, Wikileaks and more
Bob Woodward’s name is synonymous with investigative journalism. He visited the Poynter Institute Tuesday evening, speaking to a crowd of 180 guests. He touched on his concern for the future of journalism, his support of using unnamed sources and his time covering Watergate and presidents.
Audience member Dan Riggs of Tampa was growing up during Watergate and has followed Woodward’s career.
“His insight into the way the political system functions, especially within the White House is really interesting,” said Riggs. “You always have that question in your mind: What are they not telling us?”
Throughout the evening, Woodward answered questions from Poynter’s Butch Ward and Ellyn Angelotti. He also took several questions from the audience.
When it came to the subject of bias in journalism, he said, “The really good reporters take their political biases or inclinations and discard them; put them in their back pockets. You really can do that. It’s like a doctor operating on a Republican or a Democrat. The organs are the same. …”
Dr. George Ettel, Jr. of St. Pete came to the conversation because he wanted to hear from a reporter who stands to protect the public trust.
“I came to see him because of his reporting and writing over the years,” Ettel, Jr. said. “He has shown himself as someone interested in getting the truth out to the public, which I think is a very admirable thing.”
When speaking about the future of journalism, Woodward focused on the need for more journalists with conviction who will invest time to research, find sources and confirm authenticity.
Mary Pat Schallert of Seminole was encouraged by what she heard.
“I am so very comforted by his wisdom to feel that it’s not all doom,” Schallert said. “There is something to look forward to. There are some people in power who still have control of the reigns.”
Although it’s a new era with new political truths to uncover, Woodward said he still listens to the Nixon tapes and brought transcripts with him on his trip to St. Petersburg.
“I have them on cassettes and I listen to them in my car instead of music,” he said.
—Andrew DeLong, Poynter correspondent
Read more about Bob Woodward’s visit to Poynter in Mallary Jean Tenore’s story.