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WoodStein

Page history last edited by Joseph Ilardi 11 years, 3 months ago

                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                           WoodStein

 

 

   “WoodStein” was the name given to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, two reporters forThe Washington Post during the 1970s. The name was given as a quick way of referencing the investigative collaboration that was  responsible for breaking the Watergate scandal to the American public. The name “WoodStein” is a combination of both their last names.

 

     Carl Bernstein was born February 14, 1944, in Washington, D.C., and raised in nearby Silver Springs, Maryland. His parents were political activists and members of the American Communist Party. He began working as a copy boy at The Washington Evening Star at age 16. After finishing high school, he attended classes part-time at the University of Maryland. He eventually began writing stories at the Star. In 1965 Bernstein went to work as a reporter at the Elizabeth Daily Journal in New Jersey. After one year at the Journal, Bernstein returned to Washington to work as a reporter at The Washington Post.

 

     Robert Woodward was born March 26, 1943, in Geneva, Illinois. The son of a Republican lawyer and judge, Woodward attended Yale University on an ROTC scholarship, graduating with a BA in History and English in 1965. He served as a communications officer in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1970. After leaving the Navy, he considered attending law school, but decided to seek a reporting job with either The Washington Post or The New York Times. Woodward was turned down by both for lack of experience. He spent a year as a reporter for the Montgomery County Sentinel in Maryland before getting a job at the Post in 1971.

                                                                             

     The scandal began with the arrest of five men for breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Office complex in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 1972. Both Woodward and Bernstein were given the assignment of covering the burglery. At the time both were considerably younger than the average reporter at the Post. In the beginning the two reporters worked independent of one another. Woodward discovered that one of the burglars, James McCord, Jr., was a former CIA employee who had recently worked as a security coordinator for the Committee for the Re-election of Richard Nixon. Woodward also traced a phone number in one of the burglar's address book to White House consultant Howard Hunt. Bernstein was then able to confirm the burglar's calls to Hunt through telephone records. He also traced a check in one of the burglars' bank accounts for the Committee to Re-elect. Woodward and Bernstein combined their efforts to further explain the break-in, seeking information from hundreds of administration officials, campaign workers, White House staffers, and other sources. The two reporters sensed that they were only scatching the surface of a much bigger issue.

 

     For several months, Woodward and Bernstein continually wrote front page stories exposing links between Watergate and the Committee to Re-Elect, but were unable to directly connect the burglars to any one close to Nixon. One of Woodward's sources, identified on May 31, 2005 as FBI Associate Director Mark Felt, provided priceless background information, on the condition that Woodward never identify, quote, or use him as a sole source of the information. "Deep Throat," as Felt was labeled by Post managing editor Howard Simons after a popular porn movie of the time, confirmed the reporters' suspicions and leads, and helped focus their investigation on the trail of money from the burglars to the Committee to Re-Elect to the White House.

 

     Eventually, in an October 10, 1972 story, Woodward and Bernstein were able to disclose in detail that the Watergate break-in was part of a larger effort to sabotage Nixon's political opponents paid for through the Committee to Re-Elect under the direction of some of Nixon's closest aides.

 

     In May 1973, The Washington Post received the Pulitzer Prize for Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate coverage. Interest in what the two reporters had accomplished was growing, and a book offer from Simon and Schuster had already been made. Originally planning to write a story from the burglars' perspective, Woodward and Bernstein decided to tell the story of their investigation of the break-in and the cover-up.

 

     Published in June 1974, All the President's Men became a best-seller, receiving strong reviews and extensive media coverage. The book revealed the existence of "Deep Throat," causing speculation about his identity, particularly since the Watergate story continued to unfold after the book was published.

 

     As they worked on a new book The Final Days, production began on a movie version of All the President's Men starring Robert Redford as Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein. The actors and director Alan Pakula relied heavily on the two reporters for the film's authenticity. Opening in April 1976, the film later won four Academy Awards, including one for best screenplay adaptation.    

 

     Soon after finishing The Final Days, Bernstein left The Washington Post in 1976. He contributed articles to The Rolling Stone, The New Republic, and Time and worked as Washington Bureau Chief for ABC News from 1979 to 1981. From 1981 to 1984, he was a correspondent for ABC in New York.

 

     Woodward continued working at The Washington Post, becoming assistant managing editor in 1981. He also continued writing and has produced numerous best-sellers.

 

     Besides books and movies Woodward and Bernstein greatest contriubution was their work ethic. Their perseverance led them to crack one of the most important scadals in American political history. "WoodStein" is a prime example of how powerful the media can be when focused. Their stick-to-it-iveness should be an inspriation for anyone considering the field of journalism.

 

Epilogue

      

     In July 1973, the Senate investigating committee had uncovered the existence of the taping system used by Nixon to record meetings in the Oval Office. In February 1974, the House Judiciary Committee began impeachment hearings. And one month before the movie version of All the President's Men was released, a federal grand jury indicted seven of Nixon's top aides in the Watergate cover-up and informed the judge that there was enough evidence to indict Nixon, but they did not have the legal authority to charge the President.

 

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For other information regarding milestones in journalism please see the links below.

 

FrontPage

 

Thomas Nast

 

Seymour Hersh 

 

McClure's Magazine

 

 

                 

  

                                                           References

 

 

Bernstein, Carl, and Bob Woodward. All the President's Men. New York: Pocket Books, 1994.

This book, by the Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate scandal, follows them as they expose the misdeeds of the Nixon Administration.

 

Streitmatter, Rodger. "Watergate Forces a President to His Knees." Mightier Than The Sword. 2nd ed. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2008, 210-24.

This chapter highlights Bernstein and Woodward's contribution to journalism and their overall impact on history through their Watergate reporting.

 

Washington Post. "The Watergate Story." Washington Post. 5 Nov. 2008 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/watergate/>.

This offers a full recap of the turbulent events of the Watergate scandal. The recap is broke into four parts: "The Post Investigates," "The Goverment Acts," "Nixon Resigns," and "Deep Throat Revealed."

 

American Journalism Review. "Watergate Revisited." American Journalism Review. Aug. 2004. 19 Nov. 2008 <http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?id=3735>. This article is an overview of Robert Woodward and Carl Berstein's contribution to the Watergate scandal. The article also cites the journalistic contribution this duo had on journalism and the press.

 

CBS News. "The Watergate Affair." 27 October 1972. Online video clip. YouTube. Accessed on 23rd  November, 2008. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5fOKbvkRWU>

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (2)

Howie Good said

at 9:00 pm on Nov 23, 2008

Summarize political fallout, etc. Mention the movie, their supposed influence on a generation of journalism students. Where are Woodward and Bernstein now? Please add.

Kim Plummer said

at 11:32 am on Dec 8, 2008

I like the addition of the epilogue, it helps to bring the entry full circle

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