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Anderson Hays Cooper (born June 3, 1967) is an Emmy Award winning American journalist, author, and television personality. He currently works as the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°. The program is normally broadcast live from a New York City based studio; however, Cooper often broadcasts live, on location for breaking news stories.
He left The Mole after its second season to return to broadcast news in 2001, now at CNN: "Two seasons was enough, and 9/11 happened, and I thought I needed to be getting back to news." His first position at CNN was to anchor alongside Paula Zahn on American Morning. In 2002 he became CNN's weekend prime time anchor. Since 2002, he has hosted CNN's New Year's Eve special from Times Square. On September 8, 2003 he was made anchor of Anderson Cooper 360°, a fast-paced weeknight news program.
Describing his philosophy as an anchor, Cooper has said:
"I think the notion of traditional anchor is fading away, the all-knowing, all-seeing person who speaks from on high. I don't think the audience really buys that anymore. As a viewer, I know I don't buy it. I think you have to be yourself, and you have to be real and you have to admit what you don't know, and talk about what you do know, and talk about what you don't know as long as you say you don't know it. I tend to relate more to people on television who are just themselves, for good or for bad, than I do to someone who I believe is putting on some sort of persona. The anchorman on The Simpsons is a reasonable facsimile of some anchors who have that problem."
In January 2005 he was sent to Sri Lanka to cover the tsunami damage. That same month, he also went to Baghdad, Iraq to cover the elections. In February and March 2005, he covered the Cedar Revolution in Beirut, Lebanon. In early April 2005 he reported from Rome, covering the death of Pope John Paul II, and from London, covering the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.
In July 2005 he covered Hurricane Dennis from Pensacola, yielding one of the most memorable bits of footage from that particular storm. He and John Zarella were standing outside a Ramada during the worst of the storm when a large metal sign blew down. During CNN coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he confronted Sen. Mary Landrieu, Sen. Trent Lott, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson about their perception of the government response. As Cooper later said in an interview with New York magazine, "Yeah, I would prefer not to be emotional and I would prefer not to get upset, but it's hard not to when you're surrounded by brave people who are suffering and in need." As Broadcasting & Cable magazine noted, "In its aftermath, Hurricane Katrina served to usher in a new breed of emo-journalism, skyrocketing CNN's Anderson Cooper to superstardom as CNN's golden boy and a darling of the media circles because of his impassioned coverage of the storm."
In August 2005, he covered the Niger famine from Maradi.
In September 2005 the format of CNN's NewsNight was changed from 60 to 120 minutes to cover the unusually violent hurricane season. To help distribute some of the increased workload, Cooper was temporarily added as co-anchor to Aaron Brown. This arrangement was reported to have been made permanent the same month by the president of CNN's U.S. operations, Jonathan Klein, who has called Cooper "the anchorperson of the future." Following the addition of Cooper, the ratings for NewsNight increased significantly; Klein remarked that "[Cooper's] name has been on the tip of everyone's tongue." To further capitalize on this, Klein announced a major programming shakeup on November 2, 2005. Cooper's 360° program would be expanded to 2 hours and shifted into the 10 p.m. ET slot formerly held by NewsNight, with the third hour of Wolf Blitzer's The Situation Room filling in Cooper's former 7 p.m. ET slot. With "no options" left for him to host shows, Aaron Brown left CNN, ostensibly after having "mutually agreed" with Jonathan Klein on the matter. In early 2007, Cooper signed a multi-year deal with CNN, which would allow him to continue as a contributor to 60 Minutes as well as doubling his salary from $2 million annually to a reported $4 million.
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