Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to Accept 2012 Los Angeles Press Club’s President’s Award
WATERGATE REPORTERS WHO REDEFINED INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM WILL ACCEPT PRIZE 40 YEARS AFTER THE EVENT
Next year marks a major milestone in American journalism: the 40th anniversary of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s pioneering reporting on the Watergate scandal.
Woodward and Bernstein’s series of articles for The Washington Post unraveled the biggest American political scandal to date, culminating in President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974. Four decades later, the stories still stand as a bellwether of investigative journalism.
To mark the occasion, the Los Angeles Press Club will honor Woodward and Bernstein with the 2012 President’s Award. The Pulitzer-prize winning journalists will accept the award in person at the 54th annual Southern California Journalism Awards.
“Because of their fearless reporting, American journalism would never be the same,” said LA Press Club President Will Lewis. “The President’s Award goes to individuals who have had an impact on media. I can think of no one who deserves this award more than Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.”
The scandal that made Woodward and Bernstein the most famous reporters in America started with a mysterious break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters in Washington, D.C.’s Watergate office complex, by five burglars dressed in business suits. Starting from that one bizarre event, Woodward and Bernstein followed a trail of clues that reached ever-higher to eventually expose a wide-ranging conspiracy of political sabotage aimed at undermining the electoral process. The revelations exposed a previously little-seen dark side of American politics and led to the indictments of 40 White House and administration officials. Ultimately, President Richard Nixon resigned on Aug 9, 1974.
Along the way, Woodward and Bernstein became household names synonymous with investigative journalism. Their work on the story has been credited with inspiring generations of journalists, the formation of entire investigative teams at newspapers and increased media scrutiny of the White House. It also helped raise the Washington Post to international stature. Public trust in the federal government has never been the same since. To this day, the media still tacks on the suffix “gate” when referring to major political scandals.
As media critic Ben Bagdikian told the American Journalism Review in 2004, Woodward and Bernstein produced “the single most spectacular act of serious journalism [of the 20th] century.”
Woodward and Bernstein’s work on the stories earned the Washington Post a Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Their collaboration also expanded into two best-selling books, “All the President’s Men” and “The Final Days.” The hit 1976 movie version of “All the President’s Men” starred Robert Redford as Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein, and won several Academy Awards.
The story of Watergate continues to live on. In 2005, the news media was abuzz when Vanity Fair magazine identified Woodward and Bernstein’s famed anonymous source, “Deep Throat” as former FBI official Mark Felt. More recently, the National Archives in November released transcripts of Nixon’s grand jury testimony in 1975, making international headlines.
Yet Watergate is not Woodward and Bernstein’s only claim to fame. Woodward, who graduated from Yale University in 1965 and started his career at the Montgomery County Maryland) Sentinel, remains at the Washington Post to this day. He has won nearly every major American journalism award during his career, and has authored or co-authored twelve #1 national bestsellers. His books include “Bush at War,” “Plan of Attack” and “Obama’s Wars.” The television program “60 Minutes” has produced segments on seven of Woodward’s books, and three of his books have been turned into movies.
Bernstein, who went to work at age 16 as a copyboy for The Washington Star and joined the Post staff six years later, has written for numerous publications in the years since Watergate. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair (for which he is also a contributing editor), Time, USA Today, The New York Times and The New Republic. He has served as Washington Bureau Chief and correspondent for ABC News, a political analyst for CNN. His books include the biography “A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hilary Rodham Clinton”and “Loyalties,” a memoir about his parents during McCarthy-era Washington.