"What drove me was not being a pioneer. What drove me was my competitive nature to go out and be the best at what I could be in covering the story."
About This Interview
Ed Bradley says of his interviewing style: "My job is to put someone in a chair and get them to talk and tell their story, as if there are no cameras, no lights, not seven people in the room, just the two of us sitting there talking." Ed Bradley spent over three decades as a correspondent for CBS News, and was an esteemed member of the 60 Minutes staff. In his nearly four-hour Archive interview, Bradley (1941-2006) discusses his early career in radio in the 1960s. He describes his nervousness at reading the news on the air for the first time, and notes some of the field reporting he did, including stories related to the Civil Rights Movement. He talks about his first association with CBS radio in New York and as a stringer in Paris in the late '60s/early '70s. Bradley acknowledges the rareness of African-Americans in his field in radio at the time: "You could count on one hand the number of African-Americans and not use up all your fingers." He speaks in detail about his experiences as a correspondent in Cambodia and Vietnam during the Vietnam War, including the time he was wounded by shrapnel from a mortar shell. He talks about his work as an anchor on the CBS Sunday News, and as a producer for CBS Reports. Among the CBS Reports pieces he discusses is "The Boat People," about the plight of Vietnamese refugees, which was also excerpted on 60 Minutes. With part two of his Archive interview, Bradley recounts how he was offered the job for 60 Minutes. On 60 Minutes, Bradley describes working with executive producer Don Hewitt, outlines the process by which pieces are created, and comments on the art of the interview. Among the 60 Minutes pieces he touches on are: "Lena" (1981; a profile of singer Lena Horne), "In the Belly of the Beast" (1982; about author and accused murderer Jack Henry Abbott), "Larry" (1983; a profile of actor Laurence Olivier), "Dirty Little Secret" (1984; about an abused man who killed his father), "Michele" (1984, a profile of Michele Duvalier, wife of the former Haitian dictator), "Made in China" (1991, a hidden camera expose of prison labor in China), "Big Man, Big Voice" (1997, a profile of a German man whose birth defects didn't prevent him from succeeding as a singer), and "Timothy McVeigh" (2000, the only television interview with the convicted Oklahoma City bomber). Bradley describes his choice of stories thusly: "My taste in stories is rather like my taste in music. I enjoy blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, opera, classical, …I mean, there are even some Gregorian chants that I like, Bach chorales, gospel music. It's the same with stories. I can go from doing a story, on a chemical attack by Saddam Hussein or heroin in Pakistan, to a profile of Robin Williams. And the nice thing about 60 Minutes is that you have the latitude to do a range of stories." Don Carleton (part 1) and Michael Rosen (part 2) conducted the interview in two parts, on May 12, 2000 and May 8, 2001 in New York, NY.