Bonnie Anderson, Alumnae Award Recipient

Alumnae Award, 2011

Bonnie Anderson – Medill 1977

The Alumnae Award recognizes a woman who has brought honor to Northwestern University through outstanding professional contributions in her field and who has attained national recognition. Established in 1976, the Alumnae Award has been presented every year to an alumna who has had a significant impact in her field of endeavor. Educators, journalists, doctors, scientists, and artists are included among The Alumnae’s roster of awardees.

Born in Cuba, Bonnie Anderson's interest in journalism began when she was a young child living in Bogota, Colombia. After graduating in 1977 from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, she worked at Florida newspapers, including The Miami Herald, and then moved into television.

Working in print, radio, internet and television in both English and Spanish, she has reported from more than 100 countries, covering stories such as the civil wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Lebanon, the famine and civil war in Ethiopia, Chernobyl, numerous international visits by Pope John Paul II, the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf War, the standoff in Waco, the Oklahoma bombing, the bombing during the Olympics in Atlanta and 9/11. Bonnie was a founder of CNN en Español network where, as Managing Editor, she supervised news-gathering staff. As Vice President of the CNN News Group, she recruited and coached on-and off-air personnel.

Bonnie's work on camera for local, national and international news corporations, including a decade with NBC News as an international and war correspondent, paved the way for women to follow in her footsteps. In 2000, when she was inducted into Medill's Hall of Achievement, Dean Ken Bode, a former colleague of Anderson;s, said she had "plowed and paved the road" for women to become foreign correspondents. "Bonnie Anderson covered all sorts of war zones around the world," he said. "She gained the deepest admiration of her colleagues in her service to the network and to the profession."

The winner of seven Emmy Awards, Bonnie was finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and has been nominated for the Maria Coors Cabot Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Columbia University

In 2004 Bonnie published News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment and the Bottom-Line Business of Broadcast News, which reveals everything the broadcast and cable news networks do that is illegal, unethical, unprincipled and--as she says--"just plain stupid."

She currently lives in St. Croix and teaches journalism to graduate students in Brazil, where she emphasizes the importance of ethics. Bonnie;s view of journalism is that "We're not about business, we're about the truth. Journalism is pure; it is real; it is what holds a democracy together. Without pure journalism, there is no pure democracy."