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Cooper, Anderson (b. 1967)  
 
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Anderson Cooper considered staying in New York with his mother after the tragedy, but she insisted that he return to Yale to complete his degree. She was well aware of the turmoil that it caused him at the time and the impact on his future career, telling Van Meter that the deaths of his father and brother "are the two events that affected him at a gut level. Later, when he became a reporter, it enabled him to do this with compassion and maturity beyond his years. I've always thought that TV is like an X-ray. And when you see Anderson on TV, what you see is what you get. He really is like that."

Upon graduating from Yale in 1989, Cooper sought to pursue a career in journalism, but his application for an entry-level job with ABC News did not even result in an interview. He subsequently landed a position as a fact-checker for the program Channel One, a twelve-minute daily news production shown in American high schools. Cooper longed to be a foreign correspondent, however, and came up with a plan that he would later call "very simple, and monumentally stupid."

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Having decided that "stories [that] were interesting and inexpensive" and originated in "dangerous or exotic" locales might get air time on Channel One, Cooper quit his fact-checking job, had a friend mock up a fake press pass on a computer and lend him a Hi-8 camera, and, in December 1991, headed off to Thailand, where he met some Burmese refugees fighting against the military dictatorship in their country.

The Burmese freedom fighters secreted Cooper across the border and into their camp in the jungle, where, with the sound of mortar fire in the background, he saw the horror of an improvised field hospital. Channel One bought his video, but, more importantly, Cooper recognized that he had found his professional calling. "I knew that this was the career I wanted," he recalled in his memoir. "I couldn't imagine doing anything else."

Cooper followed through with his plan to report from scenes of the human struggle for survival, from war zones to regions stricken by famine. He worked as a free-lancer, selling his stories to Channel One until, after he submitted a series of reports from Somalia, he earned a post as their lead international correspondent.

His work took him to hot spots, including the Balkans, countries of the former Soviet Union, Haiti, Indonesia, and, in 1994, Rwanda. After covering the genocide there, Cooper reassessed his mission: "I didn't want to see any more death," he declared in his memoir. He allowed his contract with Channel One to expire.

Meanwhile, his work had caught the eye of the news department at ABC, which, in 1995, hired him as a correspondent. Cooper was assigned to World News Now, which aired at 3 o'clock in the morning, and, he stated to Van Meter, "no one within ABC actually watched."

However, during this period he did contribute segments to ABC's newsmagazine 20/20. Indeed, he won a GLAAD Award in the category of "Outstanding TV Journalism" in 2001 for a 20/20 segment on openly gay high school athlete Corey Johnson.

Fearing that his career in news was stalling, Cooper accepted ABC's offer to become the host of its reality show The Mole in 2000. Based on a Belgian program, The Mole sent an initial contingent of ten people to sites around the globe to compete in various contests while also trying to figure out the identity of "the mole," an individual employed by the producers to pose as an ordinary contestant but whose role was to create confusion.

The Mole did not match the success of the wildly popular Survivor series on CBS, but it achieved respectable ratings.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, "I wanted to be reporting again," Cooper stated to Andrew Ryan of the Toronto Globe and Mail. In January 2002 he joined CNN as an anchor and correspondent. The fit seemed a good one for him because, as he told Ryan, "At CNN, there's a sort of purity to the mission, which is nice. We're all about news, wherever it happens in the world. And the global resources we have to draw on are astounding."

Cooper was initially teamed with Paula Zahn to co-anchor a morning news show. However, in May, upon his return from an assignment in Afghanistan, he substituted for host Aaron Brown on NewsNight, and the audience response was so enthusiastic that he was given his own show, Anderson Cooper 360° (now known as AC 360), in September.

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