Anderson Cooper joined CNN in 2001 and has anchored his own program, "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees," since March 2003. That show will now become the prime evening news program, replacing "News Night with Aaron Brown." He had previously served as a correspondent for ABC News and was a foreign correspondent for Channel One News. Cooper has won several awards for his work, including a National Headliners Award for his tsunami coverage and an Emmy Award for his contribution to ABC's coverage of Princess Diana's funeral.
HarperCollins touts the handsome, prematurely gray host of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 as the "prototype for a twenty-first century newsman." Sadly, that statement is all too true. This brief, self-involved narrative reaffirms a troubling cultural shift in news coverage: journalists used to cover the story; now, more than ever, they are the story. Cooper is an intrepid reporter: he's traveled to tsunami-ravaged Asia, famine-plagued Niger, war-torn Somalia and Iraq, and New Orleans post-Katrina. Here, however, the plights of the people and places he visits take a backseat to the fact that Cooper is, well, there. The Yale-educated son of heiress and designer Gloria Vanderbilt weaves personal tragedies (at 10, he lost his father to heart disease and later his older brother to suicide) awkwardly into far graver stories of suffering he's observing. Even when he plies the reader with his own unease ("the more sadness I saw, the more success I had") and obliquely decries TV news's demand for images of extreme misery ("merely sick won't warrant more than a cut-away shot"), he seems to place himself in front of his subjects. Cooper is an intelligent, passionate man and he may be a terrific journalist. But this book leaves one feeling he's little more than a television personality. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.