Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Carl Bernstein, reporter who broke Watergate scandal, speaks in Winnipeg

  • Print

Carl Bernstein doesn’t want news organizations to cater to "idiot culture." He also thinks everyone ought to be better listeners.

Bernstein was speaking to a roomful of journalists as they enthusiastically live-tweeted quotes from his speech.

The Pulitzer prize-winning reporter was in Winnipeg today presenting a keynote speech as part of an international journalism conference called Holding Power to Account.

The conference, co-sponsored by the CBC and the University of Winnipeg, brought Bernstein to the city for the first time in 50 years.

Bernstein broke the Watergate scandal with his Washington Post colleague, Bob Woodward, in the early 1970s. The stories that the pair wrote implicated then US President Richard Nixon in a range of abuses of power, eventually forcing his resignation.

The pair won the Pulitzer for their efforts and later co-authored a best-selling book, All the President’s Men, about their time spent reporting on the Watergate wire-tapping scandal.

The book was later turned into a Hollywood blockbuster of the same name in 1976 starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford as Bernstein and Woodward. The film will be screening tonight at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as part of the journalism conference.

Bernstein said repeatedly in his speech that he didn’t want to be nostalgic. But he wished the basics of reporting still remained relevant today.

"Common sense and being a good listener, I think those are the essential elements," he said.

"The most important thing is not reduced to one important thing. I think that reporting is about getting the best obtainable version of the truth."

Bernstein also encouraged young reporters to venture out and uncover news stories after their work hours were through.

"It’s not about heroism, it’s about what you do," Bernstein said. "We can’t succumb to idiot culture. We can’t succumb to ideological coherence."

Bernstein left the audience with one of his favourite quotes from his friend, Woodward.

"Most or all great reporting is done in defiance of management," he said.

The Holding Power to Account conference runs until Sunday.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bowman talks "job number one" in News Café interview

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose flies towards the sun near the Perimeter Highway North and Main St Monday afternoon – See Day 10 for Bryksa’s 30 goose project - May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Someone or thing is taking advantage of the inactivity at Kapyong Barracks,hundreds of Canada Geese-See Joe Bryksa’s goose a day for 30 days challenge- Day 15- May 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Has the attack on Parliament hill shaken your faith in Canada's ability to protect its citizens from terrorist threats?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google