Where 12 Famous Journalists Went to Journalism School

Where journalists went to school.

Legendary CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite once said, “Journalism is what we need to make democracy work.” At a time when the general public is losing confidence in the media — a 2021 Reuters survey found that only 29% of Americans trust the news — many agree that quality journalism is more important than ever. Some prominent journalists did not study the craft in their college days and earned degrees in other fields, including CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who studied political science at Yale University. Others started college but never graduated, like NBC’s Lester Holt, who studied government at California State University–Sacramento. However, many of the field’s biggest stars knew their future was in journalism long before their faces were routinely on national television or their stories were read nationwide. Here are 12 living journalists who studied journalism — or a variation such as media studies or communications — in college.

Carl Bernstein

Degree earned: None

Alma mater:University of Maryland

U.S. News Rank: 59 (tie), National Universities

Widely renowned as one of the best investigative journalists of all time, Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post and fellow reporter Bob Woodward teamed up to cover the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974. Just a decade prior, Bernstein had dropped out of college to pursue a reporting career at age 19. He chronicled his early days of breaking into the news world without a degree in his 2022 memoir “Chasing History.”

Connie Chung

Degree earned: Bachelor’s in journalism

Alma mater: University of Maryland

U.S. News rank: 59 (tie), National Universities

Connie Chung, the first woman to co-anchor “CBS Evening News” and the first person of Asian descent to anchor a newscast for a major American network, joined CBS in 1989 after starring at NBC. She won her first Emmy Award in that year and added two more the following year. Chung left CBS in 1995 but remained popular, working on various ABC programs including “Good Morning America” and anchoring “Connie Chung Tonight” for CNN in 2002 and 2003.

Bob Costas

Degree earned: Bachelor’s degree in communications

Alma mater:Syracuse University (NY)

U.S. News Rank: 59 (tie), National Universities

Bob Costas’ name stands out on the long list of high-profile sportscasters who studied at Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Dubbed “one of the most respected minds and voices in the history of sports media” by the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, he covered six Super Bowls and 11 Olympics. He has covered sports on networks ranging from TBS to NBC and stars in the HBO series “Back on the Record with Bob Costas,” which premiered in 2021.

Steve Doocy

Degree earned: Bachelor’s degree in journalism

Alma mater: University of Kansas

U.S. News rank: 122 (tie), National Universities

Steve Doocy joined FOX News Channel as a weather reporter in 1996 and was promoted to co-host of “FOX & Friends” two years later. In his tenure as a co-host, the show has consistently ranked as the most-viewed morning program in cable news. Doocy has received the Associated Press Feature Reporter of the Year Award and has written four New York Times bestselling books, three of them with his wife, Kathy.

Wesley Lowery

Degree earned: Bachelor’s degree in journalism

Alma mater:Ohio University

U.S. News rank: 179 (tie), National Universities

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author, Wesley Lowery covered law enforcement and politics for The Washington Post before joining CBS News in 2020. Though he may be best known for his coverage of racial injustice and crime, he has written several longform culture pieces and profiles as a contributor to GQ magazine.

Matt Murray

Degrees received: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism

Alma mater:Northwestern University

U.S. News rank: 9 (tie), National Universities

Matt Murray joined The Wall Street Journal as a Pittsburgh bureau reporter in 1994 and worked his way up the corporate ladder in the decades to follow, being named editor-in-chief of the paper and Dow Jones Newswires in 2018. His staff won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2019. In the same year, Murray was inducted into the Hall of Achievement at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications.

Michele Norris

Degree earned: Bachelor’s in journalism

Alma mater: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

U.S. News rank: 68 (tie), National Universities

After winning an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award with ABC News for her work on 9/11 and its aftermath, Norris joined NPR in 2002. There she became the first Black female host of “All Things Considered.” She was named “Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists in 2009, and founded The Race Card Project a year later, which won a Peabody in 2014. Norris left NPR after 13 years and is currently a columnist for The Washington Post.

Jorge Ramos

Degree earned: Bachelor’s degree in communication

Alma mater: Ibero-American University (México City)

U.S. News rank: Unranked, Best Global Universities

Jorge Ramos emigrated to the U.S. in 1983 and became an anchor for Noticiero Univision in 1986. He has won numerous Emmys, including a lifetime achievement Emmy in 2012, and received the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2017. In addition to having written more than a dozen books, he writes a weekly column that appears in more than 40 newspapers in the U.S. and Latin America.

Robin Roberts

Degree Earned: Bachelor’s degree in communications

Alma Mater: Southeastern Louisiana University

U.S. News Rank: 93 (tie), Regional Universities (South)

Robin Roberts rose to the top of the broadcasting ranks fast and never looked back. After starring as a “SportsCenter” anchor for ESPN, she began contributing to “Good Morning America” in 1995 and was promoted to co-anchor in 2005. A 2013 Reader’s Digest poll voted her the “Most Trusted Person on Television” and she has received the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Stephen A. Smith

Degree received:Bachelor’s degree in mass communications and media studies

Alma mater: Winston-Salem State University (NC)

U.S. News rank: 48 (tie), Regional Universities (South)

The man who many now consider the face of ESPN was typing out his bold sports takes long before he ever hit the air as a “First Take” co-host in 2012. Stephen A. Smith worked in a number of reporter and columnist roles for The Philadelphia Inquirer until 2010, after a stint as a high school sports reporter for the New York Daily News starting in 1993. His knack for debate developed when he played basketball in college, once urging his coach to retire in a column that ran in the school newspaper.

Elizabeth Vargas

Degree earned: Bachelor’s degree in journalism

Alma mater:University of Missouri

U.S. News rank: 122 (tie), National Universities

In her illustrious run with ABC News, Elizabeth Vargas covered the deaths of two U.S. presidents — Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy, Jr. — and won an Emmy in 2000 for Outstanding Instant Coverage of a News Story. She left ABC in 2018 and became host of A&E Investigates later that year. Three years after, she became host of Fox’s “America’s Most Wanted,” a reboot of the show that originally aired in 1988.

Fredricka Whitfield

Degree received: Bachelor’s degree in journalism

Alma mater: Howard University (District of Columbia)

U.S. News rank: 83 (tie), National Universities

Since joining CNN in 2000, Fredricka Whitfield has reported on numerous groundbreaking events inside and outside of the U.S., including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and the 2009 presidential inauguration. She anchors CNN Newsroom’s weekend edition in addition to her correspondent duties. Her work has garnered numerous awards, including accolades from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Where 12 Famous Journalists Went to Journalism School

— Carl Bernstein: University of Maryland

— Connie Chung: University of Maryland

— Bob Costas: Syracuse University

— Steve Doocy: University of Kansas

— Wesley Lowery: Ohio University

— Matt Murray: Northwestern University

— Michele Norris: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

— Jorge Ramos: Ibero-American University

— Robin Roberts: Southeastern Louisiana University

— Stephen A. Smith: Winston-Salem State University

— Elizabeth Vargas: University of Missouri

— Fredricka Whitfield: Howard University

Find the right school for you.

Get more information about how to choose a college, and check out the complete rankings of the 2022 Best Colleges. For more advice and information on how to select a college, connect with U.S. News Education on Twitter and Facebook.

More from U.S. News

What You Need to Know About Becoming a Journalism Major

Picking the Degrees and Majors of the Future: What to Know

8 College Majors With Great Job Prospects

Where 12 Famous Journalists Went to Journalism School originally appeared on usnews.com

Related Categories:

Latest News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up