A 2012 Interview with Martha Raddatz

We have a lot of cool parents connected to Kenyon. Parents with incredible and inspirational jobs seem to raise kids who want to come to Kenyon at remarkable rates. Here at Her Campus Kenyon, we find it especially but we cool to watch one of just two women to moderate the presidential debates this election season, knowing her son is a Kenyon Lord and she a devoted fan.

Juggling flights to Afghanistan and getting to Gambier for football games would prove a difficult task for anyone, but if one woman can, I'm not surprised its Martha Raddatz—senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC news. Raddatz spoke about the changing climate of news journalism, the importance of nonpartisan journalism, and the struggle to relate to a war fought by American soldiers yet so removed from our sight and even awareness—not to mention the process of preparing to moderate a VP debate. (EN: And, in 2016, a Presidential debate!)

In a talk so well attended it had to make a last-minute switch from Higley to Rosse (causing parents to excitedly stampede from the smaller space to the larger), Raddatz spoke eloquently about her trips to Iran, Afghanistan and other war zones in the midst of conflict, and the meaningful relationships she's established with our forces serving in foreign countries. This was a talk crucial for any aspiring reporter to attend. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to ask Martha some questions after her talk. 


HCK: What advice would you give to aspiring young women journalists? 

Raddatz: Seek out any and all internships and keep applying if you don’t get it the first time. Find a mentor in the field you want to go into whether that is domestic news, blogging, foreign news, print, TV, whatever it is. Contact that person directly without being a pest. We like people we know are devoted and have passion. But don’t seek out someone you know will not have the time. Find a mid-level person and go for it!


How did your career develop—what did you do to get to where you are today? 

I  am a horrible example!  I had no idea what I wanted to do and in my senior year dropped out of college (so dumb of me to do that!). I really just fell into reporting and learned as I went along. But that is the key: learning! I watched and listened and learned. Also, I was (and still am!) very competitive and wanted to be the best.


Why is journalistic nonpartisanship so important to you? 

Because I want people to learn about both sides, and if I take a side, it is hard to have any credibility. It is not my job in any way to support either side in a political race. I can fact check, but certainly want to maintain my objectivity.


What makes a good journalist? 

Curiosity, passion, and discipline.


What do you read every day? Or, if our generation stopped turning to Twitter for news, what would you recommend we read? 

I read the New York Times and the Washington Post. But I am not going to pretend I read it all. Like anyone, there are things that interest me and things that don’t . And I like to read a variety of stories, not all of them hard news. But I always read the big stories of the day.  And that is a horrifying thing you revealed in your question! Your generation relies on Twitter for news?? YIKES! (EN: I had based this question off of a comment in her speech about Twitter)


How do you recommend young people engage more with foreign policy as opposed to only being involved in "hot button" social issues? 

Read stories about individuals in foreign countries.  When you engage in the lives of others it can be a lot more interesting than dry policy stories. And once you are engaged in the people, then you will want to read about how that country fits in in the world and with your own life.


What do you wish the candidates had addressed in the debates? 

I wish they had talked more about solutions to problems. (EN: Amazingly, still so true in 2016.)



Thank you, Martha Raddatz, for taking the time to talk to Her Campus Kenyon. Your wisdom from 2012 is still relevant today, in 2016. 


Sara is a senior English major, Art History minor, and Women's and Gender studies concentrator at Kenyon College. She was born and raised in Manhattan and never dreamed she would attend college surrounded by cornfields. She has spent two summers as an editorial intern at ELLE Magazine. She always has a magazine (or three) with her. She loves her role as Kenyon's Campus Correspondent!

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