JOURNALISMJOBS.COM: Where did you get your start in journalism?
JOURNALISMJOBS.COM: What was the most memorable story you covered?
BLITZER: I've covered some really big stories over my career ranging from the Israel-Arab peace process and the Camp David Accords to the Oklahoma City bombing and the Monica Lewinsky impeachment story. But probably the most memorable because it was my first big television experience was the Gulf War. It was so intense beginning with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. For seven months, it was non-stop coverage as a military affairs correspondent for CNN. It changed my life from an unknown journalist and made me known because of CNN's reach. It almost made me a household name. I was so much a part of CNN's non-stop worldwide coverage.
JOURNALISMJOBS.COM: What sort of advice can you give to aspiring journalists?
BLITZER: My advice to aspiring journalists is to do a lot of what I did not do. Mine was not a normal entry into the news business. My advice is to A.) take courses in journalism. B.) work for a school newspaper or TV or radio station. C.) spend a lot of summers and free time interning at newspapers and TV/radio stations because it will help you understand the business and give you a sense of whether you are good at it. It sounds glamorous but after seeing it up close, you may decide it stinks. Also, practice. If you want to be a good tennis player, you have to go out and hit some balls. Journalism is the same. You've got to work at it and spend time reporting and writing. Just do it. Write as much as you can so you can craft a well-written piece.
I see some young people today who are more interested in their make-up and think journalism is a glamor competition, like Miss America. News organizations aren't interested in that. They want someone who is smart and can break stories. Although I'd like to think CNN hired me for my looks (ha ha).
JOURNALISMJOBS.COM: What do you like most about your job?
BLITZER: For me, the real thrill of journalism is breaking stories, learning something that nobody else knows. News, after all, starts with the word "new." You've got to have something new to report. That's the most fun for me. I was the first to break the news that Richard Milhouse Nixon was dead. I had it at 10:30 on a Friday night after working my sources. CNN is a great vehicle for breaking stories because it's 24 hours.