Fresh off the plane from New York, Cynthia McFadden ’78, H’12 swept into the President’s Dining Room last week for another of Bowdoin Career Planning’s “career conversations.” This conversation followed a recent lunch discussion on journalism with Cynthia Needham ’99, political editor of the Boston Globe.
McFadden joined 10 seniors and juniors interested in the journalism and film fields for a dinner discussion on broadcast journalism.
McFadden has been the co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline for the past seven years, and her work has won her numerous awards, including the Emmy, Peabody, Dupont and Foreign Press Award.
After graduating from Bowdoin in 1978, McFadden went on to graduate from Columbia Law School in 1984. Upon graduation, she had two job offers: one in the legal field and another to become a TV anchor.
After much deliberation, she chose the latter, and for many years followed a legal beat. She, notably, covered the O.J. Simpson Trial after becoming an ABC legal correspondent in 1994 and was the legal editor and narrator for ABC’s In the Jury Room.
In her time with ABC, she has interviewed everyone from U.S. presidents to Madonna, though much of her work has focused on human rights abuses.
To the 10 students seated with her at dinner, she recommended, “Find your beat,” and added, “Don’t let anyone tell you not to become a journalist.”
When she was a student at Bowdoin, news editor was as high of a position as she was allowed to take at the Orient. She has since made great headway toward the top.
Take that bottom-rung job to get in the door, she said. You get that copyedit job at the Times? “You copyedit until you’re blind.”
To help Bowdoin students learn more about potential careers, Career Planning hosts career conversations throughout the year by bringing in successful Bowdoin alumni who wish to share their experiences with students.