Tuesday, January 31, 2006
"I wish to live deliberately"
I've never met Bob Woodruff, but in covering the story for "Anderson Cooper 360," I now feel like I know him. Every phone call I made today to interview people for our story revealed good things. A natural leader. A really smart guy. The universal favorite among his coworkers at ABC. My assignment was to do a story about Bob Woodruff the man, not Bob Woodruff the journalist. As my senior producer called it, the "kitchen sink" piece.

So we hunted down Woodruff's high school lacrosse coach outside Detroit, Michigan. I found out Woodruff went to Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School where he was captain of the lacrosse team and the ski team. He was also a darn good soccer player. His coach Charlie Shaw told me Bob instantly turned heads because he was a very confident and striking fellow. He never bid for attention. He always deflected attention elsewhere. He was a very gracious young man and always looked to bring in those who were on the periphery.

We also tracked down a partner at a law firm Woodruff worked at before becoming a television reporter and anchor. Steve Sherman of Shearman and Sterling in San Francisco told me he was watching CNN when he first learned his friend had been injured. Just a few weeks ago, he had sent a note to Woodruff congratulating him on his new job of co-anchor for ABC World News Tonight. He had no idea his friend could be in this much danger. He compared what happened to Woodruff to a Greek tragedy.

And finally, we spoke with ABC News Correspondent David Muir. He and Woodruff spent a few weeks together in New Orleans. Muir says Woodruff was always the first one out chasing a story. He remembered the two were asleep in the front seat of a car. They were rocked by an explosion. Muir had barely opened his eyes but Woodruff was already out the car door and on the story. He says: "You think you run fast; Bob always runs faster."

Woodruff's passion for helping people see the world was evident even back in his high school days. In his high school yearbook, he quoted Henry David Thoreau: "I wish to live deliberately,...and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent: 8:35 AM ET
  23 Comments
Let us pray that Mr. Woodruff and Mr. Vogt have a lot more living to do and a lot more stories to tell.
Posted By Anonymous Christine, Canton, OH : 9:08 AM ET
First, I wish Mr. Woodruff and Mr. Vogt get well soon. And .. your blog today is very refreshing, Anderson. I applaud your decision to cover the story from the human interest side of Bob Woodruff. Very often, when fast-forward news dominates the media, it feels so common place and disheartening as opposed to conveying a 'breaking news'. This is simply because all channel does the same. So, look forward to watching the story.
Posted By Anonymous Tzarina, Houston, TX : 9:31 AM ET
ERRATA: Uppps, I should have given the credit to Randi Kaye, not to Anderson! Mea culpa.
Posted By Anonymous Tzarina, Houston, TX : 9:36 AM ET
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of both Mr. Woodruff and Mr Vogt. A phenomenal and truly memorable high school quote!
Posted By Anonymous Ameena, Edmonton, Alberta : 12:23 PM ET
Although this accident which has injured these two men is very sad and tragic they have choosen to be there. This kind of thing is happening every day to our young military men and women. I do wish the newsmen a speedy recovery but ask that everyone remember all who don't want to be there.
Posted By Anonymous Amanda, Cornwall, CT : 1:54 PM ET
Thank goodness for the brave men and women who put their lives at risk to tell this most important story. May God be with them and their families and restore their health.
Posted By Anonymous Anne, Charlotte NC : 2:48 PM ET
I believe in living deliberately, to earn a living doing something I really enjoy, to follow my bliss.
Posted By Anonymous Marla Gaspard, Kenner, LA : 4:37 PM ET
this is a sad moment, not only for Bob but for all reporter all around the world, on the other hand, this is what we call news and why we call your guys jounalist. my best wisher to you all, especially, Anderson, good luck whereever you are in for live report
Posted By Anonymous sam, alameda, ca : 5:05 PM ET
I wish all the best for Bob Woodruff and Mr Vogt. I have said prayers for the both of them. I lost a good friend on the 16th of January in Iraq, so I know how scary it much be for the families of these 2 men. I have been watching Anderson on CNN for awhile now and the more I watch his stories the more I come to respect the man he is. I watched Oprah today with Anderson as her guest and the story of the children starving touched my inner soul. I have children and the thought of them starving and not having food to feed them scares me. I hope that one day we wake up and realize that we too, have starving children right here in America as well as in other countries. I SALUTE YOU ANDERSON COOPER, for putting yourself in the middle of a story and telling it with such compassion that it touches your life as well. Thank you for always being a one of a kind reporter and an AWESOME man!
Posted By Anonymous Sandra Cota, Ft. Hood Texas : 6:19 PM ET
An incredibly pensive and contemplative posting, Randi. Let us remember that (est.) 58 journalists plus 20 media support workers are amongst those victims of Iraq casualties since 2003 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_and_occupation_of_Iraq_casualties). That's only for Iraq war. Thus, Bob Woodruff and other journalists are doing a perilously risky job that can only be justified by a soul that yearns for living deliberately indeed. Thank God for those extraordinary souls like Mr. Woodruff's and Mr. Vogt's. Let's pray for them. Thanks for bringing up the "kitchen sink" piece of the story.
Posted By Anonymous Swot Diva, Lake Forest, IL : 6:30 PM ET
It seems that some, like Bob Woodruff, who have chosen the journalism as the craft of their life long profession are motivated by something unseen force. Something burning from within them that makes them climb that higher mountain, travel to distant lands to cover news stories and have become more than just a talking head.

Although there has be criticism regarding the extensive coverage regarding the injuries of Bob Woodruff and his cameraman, Mr. Voght. These people are missing the fact that each night we invite these newscasters/journalists into our homes, and they become like a distant friend, and we appreciate their opinion. Their ability to genuinely report the news through what they see and experience is their gift. We certainly hope that Mr. Woodruff and Mr. Voght will be back using their gift and get well very soon.

I believe that journalists like Bob Woodruff, Randi Kaye, John King, and Anderson Cooper embody what Gandhi once wrote: "You must be the change you want to see in the world."
Posted By Anonymous Ashley, San Diego, CA : 7:00 PM ET
This kind of media attention should be given to soldiers, not so-called journalists who are just trying to profit from the misery of Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Barry Cross, Alb any, NY : 7:01 PM ET
Well done
Posted By Anonymous Concerned Citizen : 7:09 PM ET
To Barry Cross who claims that journalists "are just trying to profit from the misery of Iraq": If Mr. Woodruff were merely concerned with making money, he would have stayed at Shearman and Sterling, made partner and raked in millions in bonuses. Clearly, much more drives a journalist to work in Iraq than the almighty dollar. There would be no media attention on any soldiers if our journalists did not risk life and limb 24 hours per day. America has not forgotten its soldiers, because the journalists and media outlets won't let it.
Posted By Anonymous Christine, Boston, MA : 7:25 PM ET
Barry, The US Government prevents the news media from covering not only injured solders, but also the body bags, and caskets that are shipped back to the US. Journalists are not profiting from the misery in Iraq, they are covering the War. I believe Mr. Woodruff and Mr. Voght were embedded with the Iraqui troups getting their story, and traveling in their tanks, not the US government. I doubt that they were paid any more for going for a different perspective in the war than if they had stayed in the Green Zone. Certainly they would have been safer if they had just stayed with the other journalists reporting the news from a backdrop.
Posted By Anonymous Ashley, San Diego, CA : 7:28 PM ET
I wish as much fuss be made for every military person who gives up his or her life than has been made for these two reporters.
Posted By Anonymous Ken Stahura, Masrysville CA : 7:36 PM ET
Good work Mr. Cooper. Indeed war zones produce terrible injuries, death and destruction. In similar ways Mr. Woodruff and Mr. Voght are like the many fine men and women who make up our US military forces and have sustained injuries and have been killed. Let us multiply your coverage on these two fine men by the thousands of America's best who do not get the coverage they deserve.
Posted By Anonymous Tom Rexrode, LTC, US Army, Ret., Williamsburg, VA : 7:42 PM ET
The more I read about Mr Woodruff, the more he sounds like Peter Jennings. I adored Peter Jennings.
I have followed Mr. Woodruff's rise with great interest in the past few months. I do not feel he resembles Peter either in voice or looks, but only in the earnest way hesometimes confronts the camera.
BUT this blog gives the the same impression I had of Mr. Jennings: handsome, self-effacing, and quick on the story.
I sent Mr. Woodruff a card a month ago, with congratulations and best wishes. Imagine my surprise to get a lovely hand-written note from him, thanking me for my confidence. I was very impressed.
GODSPEED BOB WOODRUFF and return back soon.
Posted By Anonymous Deborah Young-Groves - Kitchener ONTARIO CANADA : 4:00 PM ET
There was comment about there being oto much media coverage regarding Woodruff and his family. extend them privacy...of course, but at the same time let his audience know he is okay. Best wishes to Woodruff work associates, family. Anderson I loved the story regarding sex slavery in Mexico. Gary Tucham and Kathryn McFarlane are great. Thank You!
Posted By Anonymous james lunsford, la, ca : 5:17 PM ET
I love to read what Anderson writes because he writes like he talks - not a lot of editing time when talking. In any case, this comment may sound strange to some but it means no offense, just observation. It took me a while to get used to Anderson's "looks" - he's obviously a young man (younger than I so he HAS to be young) but he has that white head of hair... Why the boicott to Grecian formula? I asked myself... He looks weird, I said (to myself) Those super blue eyes and that white hair.... BUT I kept watching because I liked his reporting. Now, he does not look that strange to me...
Now... here comes Bob Woodruff... Does he think he can take the place of my BELOVED Peter Jennings? I asked myself (I truly don't talk to myself as much as it seems here). I looked at him and saw those huge blue eyes surrounded by fan-like eyelashes (oh, how I wished I had had those eyelashes for my wedding pictures...), that chiseled look and thought "Hmmmm, I don't think I want to look at this fellow..." (Sorry TV guys... looks do matter in the business though not always the way you think they do). I forced myself and was getting used to him (because I like his reporting) and wham! he gets injured in Iraq. Truly, I hope he recovers completely. I hope his family has him around to share his 85th birthday with the grandchildren. One more comment - I saw his brother being interviewed yesterday. My oh my, do they look alike BUT the brother has "softer" lines and less "intimidating" eyes.
Posted By Anonymous Maria R. - Morgantown, West Virginia : 6:52 PM ET
I truly admire the journalists & the cameramen/tech people, who put their lives/safety on the line. They are not doing this for any type of "glory"-they would have to be absolutely nuts! My opinion, is that they are truly passionate about the situations that we, as humble,regular citizens, can only observe from the safe confines of out homes. By the way, I count you, Anderson, as one of those truly passionate ones!
My thoughts & prayers to those people over in the war zones & to the families of those who have been injured. Peace!
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly,Edmonton AB, Canada : 7:43 PM ET
I agree, this attention should be going to our soldiers.
At the very least they should get SOME mention!
I mean after all THEY are the ones in harms way.

The SOLDIERS are the ones who should be getting all the media attention and recognicion.
Posted By Anonymous Melis SLC, UT : 12:49 AM ET
Randi Kaye, you are a fantastic writer, and, if possible, an even better reporter. Beautiful job.
Posted By Anonymous Molly, Richmond, VA : 10:49 AM ET
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