Despite his impressive family connections and graduating from Yale, it actually was no easy task for Cooper to get a foot in the door of news journalism. Enterprisingly, the young man used his own money to travel to war zones, where he gained legitimacy with a fake press pass he had made himself. In so doing, Cooper was able to send back footage from the frontline with him as war correspondent. Eventually, in 1995, he was given a job at ABC. From there, after a two-year-break to host reality TV show The Mole, Cooper began to helm CNN’s American Morning news show.
By 2002, he had become head presenter in the channel’s prestigious weekend prime-time slots. That responsibility led to his own show, Anderson Cooper 360°. At the age of 35, Cooper was on top of his game. But it was his very raw, very human approach to the stories he covered that really made him a star. When he reported on Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Cooper’s emotional reactions to the aftermath marked, in some people’s eyes, a turning point for American news journalism.