Manu K. Raju
February 9, 1980
Downers Grove, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Wisconsin (BBA)|
|Occupation||Journalist at CNN|
|Known for||CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent|
|The Merriman Smith Memorial Award Joan Shorenstein Barone Award|
|Relatives||Sharat Raju (brother)|
Gopalakrishna Adiga (grandfather)
|Website||Manu Raju on Twitter|
Manu Raju (born February 9, 1980) is an American journalist who serves as the Chief Congressional Correspondent at the news network CNN, covering the United States Congress and campaign politics. Raju previously reported for Politico as a senior Capitol Hill correspondent and for other D.C. news outlets as well.
Raju has won multiple journalism awards for his reporting on D.C. and his coverage of campaign politics. Raju moderated debates for the 2014 United States Senate election in Colorado and the 2014 Colorado gubernatorial election. He has regularly interviewed major political figures on national TV, including House Speakers Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. John McCain, and Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Early life and education
Raju grew up in Darien, Illinois, the son of Dr. Tonse N. K. Raju and Vidya Raju who migrated from Karnataka, India, in the 1970s and both later worked at the National Institutes of Health. His father, Tonse Raju, is a neonatologist and formerly a professor of pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His grandfather Gopalakrishna Adiga, was a poet from India who wrote in Kannada. Raju attended Hinsdale South High School, graduating in 1998. He attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, graduating in 2002 with a degree in business administration. During college, Raju worked as the sports editor for The Badger Herald student newspaper.
Raju first started working on the assignment desk at WMTV in Madison, Wisconsin, before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2002. There, he took a job with Inside Washington Publishers, covering environmental policy. He later worked for Congressional Quarterly, The Hill, and Politico, where he reported for seven years before joining CNN in September 2015. Before joining CNN, Raju was a regular guest on many networks and programs, including NBC's Meet the Press and CBS' Face the Nation. When he was hired by CNN, Erik Wemple of The Washington Post called the move a "towering get" for the network.
Raju has developed a reputation for finding out what politicians are discussing behind the scenes, and broke major stories during the 2013 government shutdown and during Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's high-profile reelection race in 2014. Raju broke a story about how McConnell’s opponent appeared to be getting an illegal campaign bus from her father, who was later sentenced to prison for campaign finance violations.
In 2016 for CNN, Raju was the network's lead correspondent covering Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, covered extensively the GOP establishment's struggle with Donald Trump and broke big news in high-profile Senate races, including in New Hampshire.
In 2017, Raju was featured on the cover of India Abroad newspaper, which dubbed him the "King of the Hill" for his reporting on key decision-makers in the United States and on Capitol Hill. "Raju excels at that inside-the-room reporting," a former Politico editor was quoted as saying. The article called Raju "one of the very few Indian American journalists in such a prominent position in the mainstream media."
Raju broke a major news story in January 2017 when he detailed a stock trade that raised ethical and legal questions for Tom Price, President Donald Trump's Health and Human Services nominee. The Trump administration requested a retraction, but fact-checkers found Raju's story to be accurate, and Wemple called Raju's reporting on the story "a model of careful and measured journalism."
Raju has developed a reputation for asking tough and pointed questions to leaders of Congress. In 2019, Speaker Nancy Pelosi grew testy during a one-on-one interview that focused largely on the issue of impeaching then-President Donald Trump.
After Trump told a group of minority lawmakers to “go back” to their countries, Senator McConnell dodged Raju’s question about whether it’s racist for anyone to tell his immigrant wife, Elaine Chao, to go back to her country.
On Jan. 6, 2021, Raju was broadcasting inside the U.S. Capitol during the attack on the building, reporting in real-time events as they were unfolding nearby him.
In 2021, CNN announced Raju had been promoted as the network’s Chief Congressional Correspondent.
CNN had to retract an exclusive report in 2017, done by Manu Raju along with Jeremy Herb that the Trump Campaign, including Donald Trump Jr, had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks before such documents were publicly available, as it was found to be incorrect. This was criticized by Julian Assange, and Donald Trump Jr tweeted at Manu Raju, "I won’t hold my breath for an apology, or for you to call out your puppet masters on the left that fed you BS knowing you would gleefully run with it without ever checking the other side". However, CNN stated it would not take disciplinary action as Raju had followed CNN's editorial standards process, though a mistake was made.
In January 2020, Raju was referred to as a "liberal hack" by Senator Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) after asking her, in the Senate hallways, if the Senate should consider new evidence as part of the Trump impeachment trial. Raju received support from the Capitol Hill press corps, National Press Club, and Radio and Television Correspondents' Association after the event.
In 2012, Raju was part of a team of four reporters that won the White House Correspondents Association's prestigious Merriman Smith Memorial Award for presidential reporting under deadline pressure for their coverage of the 2011 debt ceiling crisis. In 2015, Raju was awarded first prize by the Society of Professional Journalists in D.C. for beat coverage of the 2014 midterm elections, and a Folio Eddie Award for a feature profile he co-authored on Senator Elizabeth Warren.
In 2015, Washington Life magazine named Raju one of the city's "movers and shakers" under the age of 40. That year, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his high school, Hinsdale South.
In 2017, Raju was honored with the 2016 Joan Shorenstein Barone Award  for excellence in Washington-based reporting of Congressional and political affairs for his coverage of Congress and campaign politics. He was given the award at the 2017 Radio and TV Correspondents Association dinner in Washington, where the host, Bobby Bones, credited his "tenacity" and "relentless" coverage. The judges awarded Raju with the prize for his piece detailing how the New Hampshire Senate candidates from both parties struggled to embrace their respective presidential nominees, providing "forward-looking and sharp coverage of the dynamics affecting congressional races around the country" and "skillfully questioning candidates by pushing them to go beyond talking points."
Raju and his wife, Archana Mehta, are the parents of twins, a boy and girl, born in 2015.
Raju's brother, Sharat Raju is a film and TV director.
- Paul, Shilpi (January 13, 2017). "King of the Hill". India Abroad: 8–13. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
- "CNN Profiles - Manu Raju - Senior Political Reporter". CNN. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
- Wemple, Erik (August 25, 2015). "CNN nabs Politico's Manu Raju for political coverage". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
- Reporter, Manu Raju, Senior Political. "First on CNN: Trump's Cabinet pick invested in company, then introduced a bill to help it". CNN. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- Wemple, Erik; Wemple, Erik (January 18, 2017). "In retraction request to CNN, Trump team confirms CNN story". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- "CNN corrects story on email to Trumps about Wikileaks". CNN. December 8, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
- Leach, Katie (December 9, 2017). "Trump Jr.: 'I won't hold my breath for an apology' from CNN following erroneous report". Washington Examiner. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
- Phillips, Kristine (December 9, 2017). "CNN botched a story about Trump Jr". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
- Grynbaum, Michael M.; Ember, Sydney (December 8, 2017). "CNN Corrects a Trump Story, Fueling Claims of 'Fake News'". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
- Schwartz, Jason (December 8, 2017). "CNN error extends run of journalistic mishaps". Politico. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
- Chamberlain, Samuel (December 12, 2017). "Trump Jr. asks for investigation into leaks of House panel interview". Fox News. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
- Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy. "Capitol Hill press corps shows support for Manu Raju after GOP senator's smear". CNN. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
- "The Young and the Guest List 2015". issuu. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
- "RTCA Award Winners".