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Bob Woodward visits Ohio University, discusses career

Correction appended.

Wednesday night, fans of all ages came to hear journalist Bob Woodward talk about his experiences in the field of reporting. 

Assistant professor at the school of journalism and mediator Mark Turner asked Woodward about the interviews he conducted with President Trump as well as his work with the Watergate scandal. Woodward gave interesting anecdotes about his time interviewing Trump as well as stories from his 52 years working at The Washington Post.

The audience was then allowed to ask Woodward questions during a Q&A session that followed.

Turner said Woodward was brought in by the Kennedy Lecture series, a group in charge of bringing in important figures to talk about current issues.

He said he was most eager to ask Woodward about the Trump interviews as he has just finished listening to the Trump Tapes.

“I was blown away by how easily he had conversations with him, how in depth and insightful the questions he had for him (were)” he said. “Asking him about the process, the challenges that he had in doing those interviews with President Trump was really important to me.”

Turner said he found it crucial for Ohio University to continue to host events with figures like Woodward. 

“I think as many people as you can have that have honestly changed the trajectory of America, the better,” he said. “We can never have enough people who have that insight and that experience coming to the university.”

Kirsten Dabelko, working as the assistant director in the Office of Global Opportunities, said she has been a fan of both Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein ever since she could remember.

Dabelko said what she particularly enjoyed about Woodward was that he had been reporting on U.S. politics for roughly the last 50 years, and that since this covered most of her lifespan, he was one of the most prominent journalists she had followed throughout her life.

“I just think he has such a comprehensive view of my lifetime of history,” she said.

She said she thought it was very important for the university to hold these sort of events in order for students to get the opportunity to hear from people successful in their fields. 

“As a student and also now, I loved when there were these inspirational people who had so much life experience but also could talk to me, to us about ideas and thoughts and their writing and connect,” Dabelko said.

She said she really enjoyed her experience and going to see him speak was very enjoyable. 

“I think it lived up to my expectations,” Dabelko said. “I hear him on the radio. I follow him and I think he’s a very approachable and good speaker so I enjoyed it.”

Aidan Combs, a junior studying political science pre-law, said he came to the event because he had heard about Bob Woodward, his interviews with Trump and his part in exposing the scandal with President Nixon, so he thought it would be a really cool opportunity to get to hear him speak.

Combs said his favorite part was hearing Woodward talk about the importance of reaching out to anyone and everyone, because it never hurts to try. 

He said he thought it was crucial for students to have the opportunity to attend events like this and he encouraged students to attend events as often as possible. 

“I think it’s important to teach students how these people think in some ways and their approach to journalism or political science because they’ve had such an impact on our society,” Combs said.

Mya Smith, a junior studying political science pre-law, said she thought it was awesome being able to hear Woodward talk about his experience as a journalist.

“It’s just pretty iconic to see the guy who did the Watergate story and then also the Trump audio book,” she said. “That’s just pretty cool.”

Smith said the part of the discussion she found most interesting was hearing that Donald Trump would randomly call Woodward and how casual it was for journalists like Woodward to be able to call important figures in the political world with no problem.

She said she thought it was really great that the university was able to set up this event especially for students interested in fields surrounding journalism and politics. 

“I think it is really important because students like us who want to do careers in these fields get to hear from those who have succeeded and flourish in their field,” Smith said. “I feel like especially with journalism, the Scripps School sets you up for that kind of thing. To have people come in and tell you about it is just really great. I think it’s good OU does this so often.”

Woodward said his biggest piece of advice to young journalists out in the field today was to enjoy the job and persist even when reporting gets complicated. 

“Love it,” he said. “It is really the best job. Keep opening the lens. Talk to people. Visit people.”


Correction appended: A previous version of this article stated the incorrect spelling of Kirsten Debelko’s name. This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

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