Watergate Reporter Inspires Southern Adventist University Journalism Students and Others


Carl Bernstein, one of the reporters who helped uncover the Watergate scandal leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974, spoke on Southern Adventist University’s campus this month. More than 1,500 students, employees, alumni, and community members attended the event.

Bernstein’s visit to the university inaugurated the School of Journalism and Communication’s 
R. Lynn Sauls Endowed Lecture Series, which will be an annual event meant to “inspire a new generation of truth seekers, storytellers, and influencers” by inviting prominent journalists and communication professionals to campus. The series is named after Lynn Sauls, ’52, PhD, former professor and dean of what is now the School of Journalism and Communication.

Bernstein shared his views regarding truth and the role of journalism in society during a conversational-style presentation moderated by local television personality Alison Lebovitz. He described working for The Washington Evening Star as a teenager and covering the civil rights movement and former President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. He also provided insight into how he and Bob Woodward exposed Nixon’s crimes as young reporters in their late 20s working for The Washington Post.

Additionally, Bernstein offered advice to students, encouraging them to get a foot in the door, listen well, avoid “manufactured controversy,” and not take themselves too seriously. He stated that good journalists should aim to report “the best obtainable version of the truth.”
“Carl Bernstein is one of the greatest investigative journalists our country has ever seen,” said Amanda Blake, junior journalism major. “As an aspiring journalist, I felt energized by his passion for truth. His advice on covering the context of a story—the people, the real issues, the effects of legislation—inspired me to take my storytelling to the next level, to not only inform people but to serve them as well.”

This article is a revised except from an article originally published in Southern’s student newspaper, Southern Accent.

The views and opinions of campus guests do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Southern Adventist University. An individual's or group's invitation to speak or present on campus should not be regarded as a university endorsement of their philosophies and beliefs.