Photo by Mary Lind | Carole Radziwill shared stories of her past in order to connect with student.
Emmy award-winning journalist, bestselling author and a cast member of the “Real Housewives of New York,” Carole Radziwill, delivered the 11th annual Christiane Amanpour lecture last night at the University of Rhode Island.
The President of URI, David Dooley; founder of the Harrington School of Media, Richard Harrington; the faculty of the Harrington School and the journalism department, along with URI’s students filled Edwards Auditorium last night. The lecture began with a short video of Christiane Amanpour herself, introducing the speaker.
Radziwill’s first big story was covering the foreign policies and relations between the United States and Cambodia while working for the Peter Jennings’ Documentary unit. “I learned a lot in the field, but when we aired that story, the next day Congress changed policies and we sent humanitarian aid to the country,” Radziwill said. “That’s when I realized the power of truth-telling and journalism and how it can make a change. Nothing I did after ever compared to that.”
She focused her speech on resonating with the students in the audience, by sharing her experiences working at ABC News. She highlighted some anecdotes about being stationed in Kandahar during the U.S led war in Afghanistan, covering the Gulf War in Israel in 1991 and interviewing the Khmer rouge soldiers in Cambodia.
“I was never apprehensive about these things,” Radziwill said. “I guess that’s the peculiar thing about journalists: they’re never afraid of the things normal people are afraid of. There’s something about living on the edge that is alluring to them. Journalists are curious by nature and then more by training.”
In her wide-ranging career, Radziwill recalled being a cast member on Reality TV as the most challenging. “It was different than any other kind of work I had done before,” Radziwill said. “I am more of a behind-the-camera kind of person. It sounds like you’re living your life, but you’re producing your life.”
Radziwill also influenced aspiring journalists in her speech.“You just have to really focus on what you want and be the best you can be at what you’re doing now,” Radziwill said. “That’s the great thing about journalism; it forces you to run away from your own story and chase someone else’s. I was the best and the most organized intern who did anything and everything. I guess that made people notice me and I eventually landed a job at ABC.”
The event also witnessed many students from different backgrounds, graduates and fans of Radziwill from across the state. “I loved it. I thought it was very insightful and interesting to hear about her stories,” Eve Hughes, a Pharmacy major at URI, said.
“I thought it was very inspirational. It was a lot more real than the Reality,” Denise Foley, an alumna of URI, said.
After the exit of her reality TV career, Radziwill is planning to publish a collection of her essays based on her time in Afghanistan, a preview of which she exclusively provided at the end of the lecture. The event wrapped up with a question and answer session from the audience and a book signing of her New York Times bestseller “What Remains.”