Christiana Amanpour was born in London on January 12, 1958. Born to Iranian airline executive Mohammed Amanpour and his British wife, Patricia, her family moved to Tehran soon after her birth. Christian led a privileged life in Iran, and then was educated at the British boarding schools.
She studied journalism in London only because her sister backed out of attending and couldn’t obtain a tuition refund. Her family fled Iran, and became refugees, in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution. Shortly thereafter, Amanpour moved to Rhode Island to attend college. When she was a student, Amanpour interned at the Rhode Island NBC affiliate WJAR. After graduation, she endured numerous network rejections because she lacked “the right look.” She eventually landed an assistant’s job on CNN’s international desk in Atlanta. “I arrived at CNN with a suitcase, with my bicycle and with about 100 dollars.” She was transferred to Eastern Europe in 1986, during the fall of Communism. It was there that her reporting caught the attention of CNN. (Source: ABC “This Week” Moderator)
Amanpour is accepted to be one of the world’s most honored broadcast journalists, and was CNN’s Chief International Correspondent for 20 years. She’s also said to be the world’s highest-paid correspondent. Amanpour was promoted to CNN foreign correspondent in 1989, where she reported on democratic revolutions in Eastern Europe. She first attained widespread acclaim for her riveting coverage of the Persian Gulf War in 1990, followed by award-winning reporting of the conflicts in Bosnia and Rwanda.
When she was based in London she had interviews with the following important people of the world:
- 2003 British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac just prior to the War in Iraq
- 2003 Mahmoud Abbas, first Palestinian Prime Minister
- 2002 Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, in isolation in his Ramallah headquarters. (Arafat hung up on her after a shouting match.)
- 2001 Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf during the war against Afghanistan
- 1999 Mikhail Gorbachev on the 10th anniversary of Communism’s fall
- 1997 Mohammad Khatami, new President of Iran
She has received the following awards:
- 2000 Edward R. Murrow Award for Distinguished Achievement in Broadcast Journalism
- 2002 Harvard’s Goldsmith Career Award for Journalism
- Two Emmy news/documentary awards
- Two George Foster Peabody Awards for Broadcasting
- Two George Polk Awards for Journalism
- Courage in Journalism Award, International Women’s Media Foundation
- Major role in two duPont awards and a Golden Cable Ace award given to CNN
On March 18, 2010, ABC News named Amanpour as moderator for its Sunday morning.
Christian Amarpour is a good journalist because she is very courageous with her interviews. Despite the difficulties of the regions, war situations and the crisis with the leaders, she could go to the places and could have appointments with the leaders who have not accepted any media coverage. “Christiane Amanpour is described as modest, private and quite magnetic. Her reporting is unfailingly hard-hitting, accurate and insightful. She’s often pictured on-camera sans make-up and in an ever-present, unglamorous flak jacket. She was named 1997 Iranian Woman of the Year.” (source: ABC “This Week” Moderator) She is also very successful in asking very courageous questions to the leaders of the world when they have crisis. There are comments against her because of her success. Some people say “her grossly opportunistic dictator-stroking in the Arab world is a reminder of how far American TV journalism has fallen.” or in 1994 the article published in the New York Times is titled “Where there is war, there is Amarpour” continues like this “her “shallow analysis was always made worse by sensationalized programming that rarely contributed anything productive to anyone’s understanding of the world.”
- Marc Pachter outlines his interview rules a follows;
“ interviews should be an agent of their self-revelation.” The interviewee should know who will know about this interview so that s/he should be relaxed about his self portrait. After this is told to the interviewee, then the interviewer will be sincere in his/her explanations. The interviewer should be open.
“break the cocoon of self” is the next rule by him which is similar to the first rule. The interviewer is acting like a bridge who is trying to get the self image of the person who you are interviewing.
Then he says the energy created is important. The most important job of the interviewer is to feel the interviewee has a story which is important. In this rule, you need to be careful with their personal lives. People have cocoons so you need to break that shell.
He says the interviewer needs to feel “I am learning”. The interviewer should make the interviewee feel that s/he feels that s/he is sharing something different than it is known by the public.
- According to Marc Pachter’s rules for a successful interview, I believe the interview which is titled “Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Walks out of CNN” as unsuccessful. The interviewer from CNN first of all does not create a positive atmosphere for the interviewee because her body language and her tone are very strong and this makes Julian Assange uncomfortable. The interviewer does “break the cocoon of self” but she asks direct and personal questions. The second problem with the interview is that Assange is surprised with the question because he has thought the aim of the interview is different. He could not understand why he has been invited because he believes the dead people which wikileaks have shown is more important than his personal life. He warns the interviewer about his discomfort but she does not change the questions and makes him feel more uncomfortable.
She also does not apply the “I am learning” attitude. She is asking questions which show that “I know a lot, now you tell me”. This creates a negative atmosphere and it is easily seen in Assange’s attitude. She acts like a judge not as a welcoming interviewer.
The last rule “be careful with the personal life” is broken as well. The interviewer asks personal questions and Assange does not feel comfortable with this and he warns the interviewer that “these are personal matters” but she continues with her questions.
Depending on Marc Pachter’s rules we need to conclude that the interviewer has to be sincere, positive and should encourage self-revelation. The interviewee should feel relaxed and should trust the interviewer to be able give a successful interview. Assange in this interview looks nervous and not very happy with the questions that he is asked. However, I should mention his interview with Larry King on the leaving the studio, but he looks more relaxed because Larry King’s questions are relaxing and his references to the previous interview are not like a judge. He is calm and he knows what he is asking and these make Assange more relaxed and he could explain his reason easily. The interview with Larry King is a teleconference type but Assange feels better.
I was not aware of the rules till I read Marc Pachter. Now, I can watch the interviews on Turkish channels and see that most interviewers do not know about them.