Douglas Adams '88
"I’ve always felt that what I want to do is use the power of pictures to deliver news in a way that matters to people. Television stories, if they are good, can stay with you because they draw you in emotionally.”
Journalism - Telling stories
"I’ve always felt that what I want to do is use the power of pictures to deliver news in a way that matters to people,” says Douglas Adams ’88, producer for the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. “Television stories, if they are good, can stay with you because they draw you in emotionally.”
Adams’ goal is to produce news stories that break through the clutter and stay with you for a while.
Over the past decade, he has covered just about every major domestic story. His beat covers Capitol Hill and politics, and he produces nearly 100 spots a year. In 1998, he worked with correspondent Lisa Myers, producing NBC’s coverage of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Adams spent 14 grueling months on the story, writing more than 150 pieces, which he describes as “demoralizing and fascinating at the same time.”
He believes that the press coverage of the scandal played a significant role in changing the relationship between the media and politicians in general. He says, “Politicians have become a lot more wary of the press, and it makes our job harder.”
In 2002, Adams covered the Enron scandal and its fallout for six months and was awarded the Joan Barone Award for Journalism Excellence. In 2004, he was nominated for an Emmy for his work covering the move to electronic voting. Other awards on his shelf include two Gerald Loeb Awards, as well as an Edward R. Murrow Award for his work on the Washington, D.C., sniper story.
This past year, after having been nominated for an Emmy 13 times, he received his first award for producing a series on the business and financial impacts of Hurricane Katrina.
Looking back at the preparation Bucknell gave him for his career in broadcast journalism, Adams says that Bucknell was a great training ground because the most important skills one needs as a journalist are to be inquisitive and to write well. “Some of the best preparation you can have in this business is to read books, to learn about politics, history, and literature.”
He credits his experience working on The Bucknellian as on-the-job training. “I can talk to senators or congressmen because I learned to have the courage to question my University president, Gary Sojka, and the Board of Trustees about our policies regarding Bucknell’s investment policy in South Africa.”
Says Adams, “I know it sounds quaint, but I got the skills that I use now covering stories on campus back then.”
Posted Winter 2007