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CNN's Cooper: I Never Get Bored With Reporting

This story was written by Alex Lanis, Arkansas Traveler
He has traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning of the wars and has broadcast from New Orleans every few weeks since his month-long report from the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

However, Anderson Cooper doesn't get tired of doing the same story, even months after reporting it.

"I don't get bored," Cooper said. "There is something always different, there is always new things happening with stories."

For the last three months, he has been following the U.S. elections nonstop, but even this doesn't grow tiring, he said.

"It's fascinating. The fact that all people who are illegibly experts have no idea what is going to happen - it's great meeting with them every night, because, you know, no matter what they say, they really have no idea what they are talking about," Cooper said.

The Distinguished Lecture Committee invited the CNN anchor to come to the UA. Cooper spent Friday on campus speaking with students and attending events.

More than 2,000 people attended his lecture at Barnhill Arena Friday evening, a UA police officer said.

"It's awesome to hear him make fun of himself. He puts himself in this category of anchors, and then makes fun of the anchors," said Amar Mekic, a sophomore finance major.

Throughout the lecture, Cooper made comments about anchors on cable news and compared them to characters such as Kent Brockman, the animated anchor on "The Simpsons," or Guy Smiley from "Sesame Street."

"I'm just a blow-dried anchor," Cooper said in response to a question at the lecture.

In Barnhill, Cooper spoke about his career in television and how it started with a fake press pass and turned into his current position at CNN, as the host of "Anderson Cooper 360°."

After graduating from Yale, Cooper decided he wanted to be a war correspondent.

"I had a liberal arts degree, which means I had no real skills," he said.

Cooper said he borrowed a camcorder and snuck into Burma with a fake press pass. He later sold the footage to Channel One News, where he eventually landed his first correspondent job.

Since then, Cooper has worked with networks such as CNN and ABC as a correspondent and anchor, and was also the host of the television show "The Mole" for two seasons.

"Eight years ago I decided to do a reality show, if that tells you anything about my judgment," he said.

The anchor was asked many political questions at the lecture, but he didn't always have an answer.

"I really can't answer that," he said. "If Obama or Clinton were here, they would love to take shots at it, but I feel that that isn't my job. I tell people facts - it is up to my audience to make what they want out of those facts."

Anderson Cooper was the moderator at the CNN/YouTube presidential debates, which he discussed during the events.

"They're all staring at you, waiting on you to call on them," he said of the presidential candidates. "You end up not being able to look at them, because if you make eye contact, they stare at you with daggers of death."

He also talked about why events such as the conflict in Darfur and the war in the Republic of Congo haven't received much press coverage.

Those areas, he said, are very difficult to get to, so most of the news is by word of mouth.

"I know it is overused, but if there was hell on Earth, it would be in the Congo," Cooper said.

He described the wars as the most deadly since World War II, but because they are in such remote locations, and because so many governments and businesses make money off the resources in the Congo, they will continue to be ill-reported.

"We all carry a part of the Congo wit us," he said, from the tin in cell phones to diamonds in wedding rings.

"We are quite capable of anything," he said. "I see it everywhere I go."
© 2008 Arkansas Traveler via U-WIRE