Shepard discusses Woodward and Bernstein after Watergate

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December 5, 2006, 5:27 pm

December 5, 2006 — At a Shorenstein Center brown-bag lunch, Alicia Shepard, author of Woodward and Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate, discussed the two as “journalistic icons whose stories needed to be documented,” citing a fascination with the instant fame that the pair achieved at such an early stage in their careers as one of her primary motivations for writing the book.

Shepard, a contributing writer for Washingtonian and People magazines, also discussed a number of ways that journalism has been impacted by Watergate, including the emerging prevalence of investigative journalists, the advent of celebrity reporters, and the popularization of the use of anonymous sources.

She further explained that Watergate, and the subsequent publication (and film) of All the President’s Men marked a turning point in the relationship between the press and the White House, which went from “docile” to “acrimonious” almost overnight.

And while the famous duo is widely credited with single-handedly bringing down the President of the United States, Shepard said “the press can only do so much,” explaining that many other factors were in play at the time of Nixon’s resignation, but ultimately “the love of the David/Goliath story is why we hold on to this myth of Woodward and Bernstein.”