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Anderson Cooper Bio


A photo of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper

Anderson Cooper isn't afraid to let his emotions come out while covering news on TV.

Photo © Getty Images

Current Media Position:

Anchor of the CNN prime time newscast Anderson Cooper 360 and the syndicated daily talk show Anderson. He's also a contributor to the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes.

Significance to the Media Industry:

Anderson Cooper is the most well-known personality currently on CNN. That means the cable news channel will likely depend on him most in its efforts to rebuild its brand in order to better compete with rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC.

While those competitors are seen as right-leaning and left-leaning politically, CNN and Anderson Cooper are trying to provide news coverage that doesn't have a political slant. That doesn't mean that Cooper isn't taking risks on the air.

Cooper is seen as a new breed of U.S. journalist. First, he doesn't come across as a typical news anchor who sits behind a desk reading from scripts. Cooper is often seen in the field, reporting from the scenes of disasters.

While that's been done by others countless times before, Cooper isn't afraid to show emotion on the air or to get personally involved in his stories. That's in contrast to the traditional news reporter who was always shown to be an impartial observer.

Cooper's style became obvious during CNN's coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He spoke from the heart while walking the streets of New Orleans, which was devastated by the storm and the subsequent flooding.

Anderson Cooper's Early Career:

Anderson Cooper didn't take the usual TV news career path. He didn't start out in a small DMA and work his way up the ladder as most TV reporters do.

After college, Cooper worked for Channel One, which provides newscasts to schools in the U.S. He was an international correspondent, reporting from many nations around the globe.

That background helped him land at ABC News in 1995, where he worked as a correspondent and an overnight news anchor. He hosted the network's reality show The Mole for its first two seasons.

That could have sent Cooper on a completely different career track. But after witnessing the news coverage of 9/11, he decided to return to news.

He joined CNN in late 2001, anchoring in morning and weekend slots before launching Anderson Cooper 360 in 2003. Besides his news duties, he's also hosted CNN's New Year's Eve coverage live from Times Square.

Career Highlights:

Anderson Cooper's nightly newscast is dedicated to examining issues from several points of view. That's the reason behind the "360" in the title.

While Cooper isn't seen as taking political points of view in his news coverage, he's made his mark with advocacy journalism that's more populist than political. In confronting government leaders about their response to the Hurricane Katrina crisis, Cooper sounded more like a frustrated, desperate resident than a traditional, investigative journalist like the late Mike Wallace.

He's shown time and time again that he's interested in more than just getting answers for people, he wants to bring them help. His emotional style comes across most when covering natural disasters around the globe.

Cooper has built his brand and become a TV personality through his versatility. That's how he can be a news anchor, a talk show host and a 60 Minutes correspondent all at once.

Cooper has several Emmy Awards for his work over the years. In 2005, he won a Peabody Award for his reporting on Hurricane Katrina.

Personal Information:

Anderson Cooper was born on June 3, 1967, to Wyatt Emory Cooper, a writer, and famous heiress and fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt. His older brother committed suicide in 1988 by jumping from a New York balcony to his death, which Cooper discussed with his mother on his talk show. Cooper has two half-brothers.

Cooper graduated from Yale University in 1989 with a degree in political science. In 2012, he verified that he is gay after deciding that he didn't want to be seen as uncomfortable or embarrassed by his sexual orientation.

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