Barbara Walters: Audition

MON, MAY 19, 2008 (50:44)

Barbara Walters discusses her new book, Audition, and reveals the forces that shaped her extraordinary life. Walters writes with candor about her private life and professional career, reflecting on the choices she has made, the work she has done, the people she has met, the heartbreak she has faced, and the challenges she has coped with and overcome. Walters began her career as a TV morning news anchor on NBC’s Today, followed by 25 years as a co-host of ABC’s newsmagazine 20/20 and The View. This event is sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book and moderated by WSB-TV anchor Jovita Moore.

+ BIO: Barbara Walters

Although Barbara Walters would later downplay her relationship with the feminist movement, her early career is marked by a number of moves that were in part responsible for breaking down the all-male facade of U.S. network news. A Today Show regular for 15 years, including two years as the show’s first official female co-host, she was a visible presence in, at first, the program’s “feature” segments, then going on to covering “hard news”–including serving as part of the NBC News team sent to cover President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to the People’s Republic of China in 1972. Her most controversial first involved her decision in 1976 to leave Today to co-anchor the ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner (the first time a woman was allowed the privileged position of network evening anchor) for a record-breaking seven-figure salary. Public reaction to both her salary and approach to the news, which critics claimed led to the creeping “Infotainment” mentality which threatens traditional reporting, undercut ABC News ratings, and she was quickly bumped from the anchor desk. After this public relations disaster, Walters undertook a comeback on ABC with The Barbara Walters Specials, an occasional series of interviews with heads of state, newsmakers, sports figures and Hollywood celebrities that have consistently topped the ratings and made news in themselves. In 1977, she arranged the first joint interview with Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin; she has since interviewed six U.S. Presidents, as well as political figures as diverse as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, U.S. presidential contender Ross Perot, and Russian Federation President Boris Yeltsin. In 1984, ABC returned her to an anchor desk as co-host of the newsmagazine 20/20. Walters began her career in broadcast journalism as a writer for CBS News.

+ BIO: Jovita Moore

Jovita Moore anchors the 5 p.m. newscast on Channel 2 Action News. Jovita joined WSB-TV in 1998. Before moving to Atlanta, Jovita worked as weekend anchor/reporter at WMC-TV in Memphis, Tenn. Jovita began her career as a reporter at KFSM-TV in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1990. Jovita is a native New Yorker. She earned a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in literature, from Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont. Jovita made the 2007 list of 40 Under 40 by Georgia Trend magazine and is member of Leadership Atlanta’s Class of 2007. She currently sits on the Boards of the Center for the Visually Impaired, Dress for Success and the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra. She’s a past Vice President/Broadcast for the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists. She’s a sustaining member of the Junior League of Atlanta and a former member of the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta. Dedicated to helping communities around the metro Atlanta area, Jovita donates countless hours working with civic associations, hosting events for community agencies and mentoring students. Jovita is a member of Outstanding Atlanta’s Class of 2004 and has also been featured in Jezebel’s 50 Most Beautiful. Jovita is an Emmy award winner and has been awarded by the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists.

Agnes Scott College