Monroe shares career stories, journo tips

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Coming just days after he wore a purple-and-gold tie on CNN’s national broadcast in honor of UW, Friday’s mentor lunch with alum and editor Bryan Monroe (BA, ’87) was informative and entertaining. A handful of students took advantage of the chance of a lifetime to ask as many questions as they wanted of the highly successful and famous reporter. Among his stories about interviewing Michael Jackson (the last interview before MJ’s death), Senator and President Obama (being the first to get the interview with him as a newly elected President), and covering Hurricane Katrina and other breaking news stories, Monroe had plenty of tips for our future journalists.

  • Working internships are the best way to get a job in the industry
  • When you network with people, take their business card and write on the back what you were talking about with them. A day later, send them an email reminding them of your interaction, and thanking them for their time. A week or two later, send another email on something specific.
  • Never accept a job at the job interview. Giving some distance will give you better leverage as it puts you in a better position to negotiate.

On his experience working at CNN, Monroe answered many questions concerning interviewing and social media. “You call it like you see it,” said Monroe, on being familiar with President Obama, but writing stories on instances where Mr. President “should be more assertive.” Despite having done six interviews with Obama, and being on a first-name basis with the First Lady, the first priority of a reporter is to write objectively.

Monroe also fielded questions on CNN policy surrounding social media. He said all reporters must take a two-hour online tutorial before they are allowed to post to CNN social media outlets. Once they have clearance, they must follow certain guidelines. Tweets and Facebook posts, first of all, must be correct. Second, it must be free of opinion – Monroe added that while he follows this rule, he often includes his own personality in his posts. Third, the social media post has to be dual-source verified.

When he’s not busy reporting, Monroe said his own “news diet” consists of reading stories from (of course), The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Post,, and Zite on the iPad. He also enjoys reading food blogs, and watching the TV show Mythbusters in his spare time.

From all of us here in the Department, thank you, Bryan, for your time, engaging stories, and helpful tips!

By Amanda Weber