July 24, 1945 |
New York City, New York, USA
|Education||- University of Wisconsin–Madison (B.A., 1966)
- University of California, San Diego (graduate fellow)
|Occupation||Journalist, television and documentary film producer, professor|
|Known for||Reporting (earning a Pulitzer, multiple Emmys, and numerous other awards)|
|UC Berkeley faculty page|
Lowell Bergman (born July 24, 1945) is the Reva and David Logan Distinguished Chair in Investigative Reporting at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley and director of the Investigative Reporting Program, where he has taught a seminar dedicated to investigative reporting for over 20 years. He is also a producer/correspondent for the PBS documentary series Frontline. Bergman’s career spans nearly five decades, most notably as a producer, a reporter and then the director of investigative reporting at ABC News and as CBS News producer for 60 Minutes.
The story of his investigation into the tobacco industry was chronicled in the Academy Award–nominated film The Insider. From 1999 to 2008, Bergman was an investigative correspondent for The New York Times. Creating collaborative investigative projects using broadcast, print and the Web became his specialty. Bergman has received honors for both print and broadcasting, including the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, awarded to The New York Times in 2004 for "A Dangerous Business" which detailed a record of worker safety violations coupled with the systematic violation of environmental laws in the cast-iron sewer and water pipe industry. That story is the only winner of the Pulitzer Prize to also be acknowledged with every major award in broadcasting. The recipient of numerous Emmys, Bergman has also been honored with five Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver and Golden Baton awards, three Peabodys, a Polk Award, a Sidney Hillman Award for Labor Reporting, a Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism, the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism, a Mirror Award from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and the James Madison Freedom of Information Award for Career Achievement from the Society of Professional Journalists.
Bergman's grandmother was the first secretary-treasurer of the ILGWU local in New York; his grandfather was also a founder. His parents were both eastern European Jewish immigrants; his father coming from Hungary to Cuba to the United States. His mother was a member of the Poale Zion (labor Zionist organization).
He graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, with Honors, in Sociology and History, and was a graduate fellow in philosophy at the University of California, San Diego, where he studied under Herbert Marcuse. By 1969 he co-founded San Diego Free Press (later San Diego Street Journal), an alternative newspaper, with several fellow students. Bergman and fellow student Richard "Black Dick" Blackburn instigated the probe which later toppled the San Diego financial empire of C. Arnholt Smith, President and CEO of U.S. National Bank in San Diego. Bergman went on to contribute to Ramparts and San Francisco Examiner. He later worked as an associate editor at Rolling Stone.
In 1977, Bergman helped found the Center for Investigative Reporting. He was part of the reporting team that continued the work of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles, who was assassinated in 1976 while investigating land fraud committed by organized crime.
From 1978 until 1983, Bergman was a producer, reporter and then executive in charge of investigative reporting at ABC News. He was one of the original producers of 20/20. In 1983, Bergman joined CBS News as a producer for the weekly newsmagazine 60 Minutes, where over the course of 14 years he produced more than 50 stories, from organized crime, international arms dealing and drug trafficking to the Iran-Iraq and Persian Gulf wars. He also produced the first U.S. television interviews with Lebanon's Hezbollah leadership.
The story of Bergman's investigation of the tobacco industry for 60 Minutes was chronicled in the 1999 feature film The Insider, in which Bergman was played by Al Pacino. The controversial success surrounding The Insider and its allegedly negative characterization of 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace and producer Don Hewitt, led to Bergman's virtual blacklisting from the show, according to Bergman himself.
Reporting across multiple platforms
An early adopter and advocate of the multimedia model, Bergman forged an alliance between The New York Times and Frontline after leaving network news in the late 1990s. The collaboration resulted in a series of stories including California's energy crisis; the country's war on drugs; the rise of Islamic fundamentalism; the roots of 9/11; the credit card and gold industries; the post-9/11 hunt for "sleeper cells" in America; and Al Qaeda's recent attacks in Europe. It also yielded a number of award-winning projects—all with print, broadcast, and online components. Extensive web sites prepared in large part by students in Bergman's seminar have accompanied many of these projects, i.e.: "Secret History of the Credit Card", "Al Qaeda's New Front", "The Enemy Within", "The Real CSI" and "News War". Drawing on more than 80 interviews with key figures in the print, broadcast and electronic media, and with unequaled, behind-the-scenes access to some of today's most important news organizations, "News War" examined the challenges facing the mainstream news media and the media's reaction. The Poynter Institute has called these sites a “prime example of what many who touted "convergence journalism" hoped might happen—journalism that leverages the strengths of each media to tell a more complete story than any one media could tell on its own.”
Collaborating with other New York Times reporters, Bergman helped produce a series of in-depth articles detailing the financial arrangements between Vice President Dick Cheney and Halliburton, both before and after his retirement as C.E.O. of that firm to re-enter politics.
Awards and honors
Bergman has received top honors in both print and broadcasting. In 2004, The New York Times won the annual Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, citing "the work of David Barstow and Lowell Bergman that relentlessly examined death and injury among American workers and exposed employers who break basic safety rules." The series, "A Dangerous Business", detailed a record of egregious worker safety violations coupled with the systematic violation of environmental laws in the iron sewer and water pipe industry. That story, which appeared as both a print series and a documentary, is the only winner of the Pulitzer Prize also to be acknowledged with every major award in broadcasting.
He is also the recipient of numerous Emmys and other honors, including five Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University silver and golden awards, three Peabodys, a Writers Guild Award, the National Press Club's Consumer Journalism Award for Television, a George Polk Award, a Sidney Hillman award for labor reporting, and the James Madison Freedom of Information Award for Career Achievement from the Society of Professional Journalists.
In addition to being a mentor to upcoming journalists from around the world, working with and directing them on major investigations, he also serves as the conduit between student projects and their publication in some of the country’s top media outlets. Projects produced out of Mr. Bergman’s investigative reporting seminars at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley have reached substantial audiences with significant impact, appearing on national television, including PBS' Frontline and Frontline/World, as well as ABC's Nightline, CBS Evening News, and 60 Minutes II; and in print, where students have been the primary authors or contributors of stories that have appeared in the pages of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle, as well as a wide variety of magazines and international and local newspapers. This work, especially in recent years, demonstrated that investigative reporting written and produced by students – and guided by veteran reporters – can help raise the standards of journalism nationally.
Bergman also helps in securing financial support from both private donors and foundations for travel and research expenses that facilitate the students’ work.
In 2007, Bergman spearheaded the effort to establish three annual Fellowships in Investigative Reporting at UC Berkeley. This year-long program is without peer at any academic institution in the nation and is designed to nurture young journalists who want to pursue a career in in-depth public service reporting by providing them with a salary, benefits and editorial guidance.
- "Smoke In The Eye: a Talk With Lowell Bergman", PBS Frontline (1999). "There's a major difference between All The President's Men and The Insider", Lowell Bergman has said of the comparison between the 1976 film on Watergate and Hollywood's new version of the events depicted in Frontline's report, "Smoke in the Eye". "In All the President's Men, the editors and reporters are heroes. That's not the case here."
- A "Long March through the Institution" of Television Journalism; Conversation with Lowell Bergman. Part of the "Conversations with History" series, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley with Harry Kreisler, (2001)
- On September 27, 2006, Bergman appeared on The Colbert Report.
- On February 27, 2007, Bergman was interviewed by Terry Gross of WHYY's Fresh Air about the Frontline documentary "News War: Secrets, Spin and the Future of the News." The four-part series, which Bergman co-produced, is about the mainstream news media and the political, legal and economic forces acting on it. The third installment looks at how the pressure for profits and shifting advertising dollars are affecting the news business.
- On February 27, 2007 Bergman was interviewed by Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal about how the Internet has changed journalism.
- On June 11, 2007, Bergman was interviewed by George Stroumboulopoulos for CBC Television's news magazine, The Hour.
- On January 26, 2009 Bergman discussed Halliburton's record $560 million settlement with the Justice Department and the SEC for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with NPR's All Things Considered. Bergman's documentary on bribery in international commerce will air on PBS "Frontline"  April 7, 2009.
- "The 2004 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Public Service". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-19. With short biographies and reprints of 11 works (NY Times articles January 8 to December 23, 2003).
- CIR | Revealing injustice for 35 years | Center for Investigative Reporting
- Interview with Lowell Bergman -- January 2001
- Secret History of the Credit Card
- Chasing the Sleeper Cell
- Al Qaeda's New Front
- The Enemy Within
- The Real CSI
- News War
- "News War" interviews
- Combining Forces for a Converged Investigation
- THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: THE REPUBLICAN RUNNING MATE; Cheney Is Said to Be Receiving $20 Million Retirement Package
- THE 2000 CAMPAIGN; Cheney Has Mixed Record In Business Executive Role
- Under Cheney, Halliburton Altered Policy On Accounting
- About Frontline accessed 20 November 2010
- In May 2006, "Lowell Bergman named distinguished professor", UC Berkeley press office.
- Lowell Bergman's home page at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
- May 2003, speech at the International Reporting Project, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University.
- Bergman and former Attorney General John Ashcroft talk about the government's investigation of terrorism and national security since 9/11, The Charlie Brennan Show, KMOX, (October 10, 2006).
- CNN on The Insider, (November 1999).
- A chronology of the 60 Minutes decision not to air the tobacco industry exposé. (1999).
- (May 5, 2007) Lowell Bergman joins The New York Times' Tim Wiener, CIA chief historian David Robarge, former FBI espionage chief Mike Rochford, former CIA veterans Norb Garrett and Milt Bearden and Eric Roth, screenwriter of The Good Shepherd to discuss the myths and reality of intelligence and counterintelligence. Sibley Auditorium, UC Berkeley.
- In May 2007, Mr. Bergman and the Investigative Reporting Program announce a competition for three year-long investigative reporting fellowships at The Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, the first of their kind in the nation. "With the economics of major news organizations deteriorating," said Lowell Bergman, the professor in charge of the Investigative Reporting Program, "this kind of public interest journalism involving time-consuming investigative work is endangered as never before. These fellowships will provide both a refuge and a base of operations for a new generation of investigative reporters."
- May 24, 2007, Mr. Bergman's keynote address "More Than Five Years After 9/11, What Is The True Threat Of Al Qaeda?" at the fourth Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Toronto.
- Lowell Bergman at the Internet Movie Database