John Stossel’s Advice to Aspiring College Journalists
When Fox Business' John Stossel took the stage at Fordham University on Nov. 10, his engaging demeanor captured the complete and full attention of the audience throughout the entire length of his presentation. Stossel employed the use of an interactive question and answer session with the students, as well as a fascinating Power Point presentation with startling facts with regard to false advertising, drugs, consumer reporting and the 'scaring of America' for his lecture, "Prosperity and its Enemies."
A noted libertarian, Stossel kept echoing the theme of freedom.
"Isn't allowing people a choice what America is all about?" the host of Stossel posed.
Stossel admitted that although America needs a government and a rule of law, its involvement with people should be limited and its purpose should be solely to protect. After that, the American people should be left alone.
"Patrick Henry did not say, 'Give me absolutely safety or give me death,'" he said. "America is supposed to be about freedom."
"Why do people hate business?" he asked, citing the Occupy Wall Street movement. "There is all of this protesting against corporate power, but in reality, corporations have to persuade you--they could have a ton of money, but actually only government can use force."
Stossel cited the simple example of buying a cup of coffee in the morning. When one hands a coffee vendor a dollar and they, in turn, hand you your coffee, you both say, 'Thank you.' Stossel asked the audience to reflect on why exactly this occurs.
"No transaction happens unless it is voluntary," he said. "It only happens if both of you think you win."
"And that's how we all get richer," he added.
FNCU received the opportunity to sit down with the host of Stossel to discuss his show, his approach to television and his advice to graduating journalism hopefuls. Below is portion of the interview:
Fox News Channel University: Your show, Stossel, has an interesting format--your engagement and conversation with the audience is very unique. Those who ask questions are not required to submit them in advance, anyone can pose one on the spot, and the atmosphere is very lively and dynamic. What was your motivation for this style of program?
John Stossel: It was really from going to colleges and making speeches. I am relatively shy and for much of my career, I sat in the editing room and carefully edited videotape. [At ABC], I could do shows successfully six or seven times a year, but now I get this new job [at Fox Business] and I thought, you know, I really like fielding questions at colleges. Sometimes there are even some hostile audience members who ask questions and responding to them is mind expanding--it is an energetic experience dealing with them. I thought, Why don't I use this for a format for a show? And so far, so good.
FNCU: How was your own college experience--did you always know you wanted to pursue a journalism career?
JS: I didn't know. I was accepted by the University of Chicago's School of Hospital Management and I was going to go into business. I thought managing a hospital would be more socially useful. I just hated school so much that I thought I would postpone graduate school by working. I took every job interview that came to campus and the one with the longest free trip was to Portland, Oreg., which turned out to be a researcher in a TV newsroom. I had never done TV news or watched it. I had only written for the school newspaper, but only on the business side. One time I wrote an article and [the editors] said, 'Leave the writing to us.' I was never a good writer--I just learned through fear. I started working and thought that I would do it for a year and then go back to school, but I discovered that work was a lot more fun. And they pay you.
FNCU: What advice do you have for graduating college students pursuing a career in journalism?
JS: Be an intern--just go out and do it. If you have worked for your school newspaper or have experience creating video and posting it to YouTube, you have something to show for it. You get the practice, and you discover that if you're good at it, you can show it to [a potential employer] and say, 'Look, I can offer you this.' You have something concrete. It's not like a mathematician who doesn't have a product he can show.
FNCU: Why should a college student pursue an internship at Fox through FNCU?
JS: Internships are how people get jobs these days. You might think that companies are perfectly organized and people look at your resume. Nobody has time--the resumes are all wonderful. Suddenly [an employer] needs to hire someone and they think, Who should we hire--Oh yeah, that intern impressed me! They were really helpful...let's offer her a job. My interns say they learn more at Fox than they do in college.