Award-winning journalist shares career tales and wisdom


Amanda Stubbing

PEN USA award-winning journalist Ann Louise Bardach gives a lecture to City College student’s in the Humanities Building Wednesday, Oct. 29. Bardach shared her journey and the secrets of being a successful journalist.


PEN USA award-winning journalist and non-fiction author Ann Louise Bardach held a speech about the development of new media and what ‘being a good journalist means on Wednesday at City College.

Approximately 50 people attended the speech to listen to Bardach’s experiences as a journalist and her tips for starting a career in the field.

She started her speech with declaring that as a writer, “you have to fall in love with reading,” an issue she knows most teenagers today don’t like to hear.

Another important tool for students who want to be journalists is to learn another language.

“I’m encouraging you to learn exotic languages,” she said. “Arabic, for example, is a good language to know these days.”

So what else is it that makes a good journalist?

“You need this curiosity about everything,” she said. “You need to have laser eyes.”

She said journalism is really all about asking the questions no one wants to answer. A reporter has to be eager to find out more than people want them to know.

“This is what you’re telling, but what are you not telling?” she said. ”What they’re telling you is what they want you to know, what you have to find out is what they don’t want you to know. And that takes real knowledge and real focus.”

Bardach got her first journalistic job at the New York Times and has been able to build a successful career. Apart from that, she has worked for other well-know publications, such as Vanity Fair and the Washington Post.

She has also worked as a writer for Hollywood productions, but discovered that it wasn’t what she really loved and found her way back to journalism.

Unlike many, she’s sure that the newspaper industry is not in danger of extinction, even though the new media has enabled nearly everyone to share news and stories.

“We all think we’re so interesting,” she said, referring to today’s obsession to post everything on social media. “You’ll have a better life, having your focus outside of yourself.”

Bardach claims that journalism is more about giving background information and being a good writer and that not everyone is able to do that.

“People will always want storytelling,” she explained. “It is a fundamental need.”

Crowd questions developed more into political issues and Bardach reminded her listeners of the privilege of living in a country where one can vote and have the right to be a part of decisions.

“If you don’t vote, don’t complain,” she said.

In journalism she has found a way to make a change and during her time in Hollywood she figured out it is her true passion.

“I really didn’t care about scriptwriting or money,” she said. “I really didn’t care about anything unless it was reporting. “

Bardach said that’s the enthusiasm a reporter should have.

“It’s a great life and I am never bored.”