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Q: You’ve been in some kind of spotlight most of your life, being the son of Gloria Vanderbilt.
Do you feel like journalism keeps you tethered to “normal” experiences? I grew up with a famous mom and dad around New York, and when we’d walk down the street people would point or stare or take pictures, so I was sort of used to that from the time I was a kid. In fact, all the things I was doing in terms of interning with the CIA, diplomatic work — all those things that interested me the most were a response to my brother’s suicide senior year of college. Grief makes people uncomfortable, and I wanted to be in places where the language of loss was spoken, and reporting was the vehicle to do it.
We like to top each other: “What stories can I get Andy to tell, and how far can he go?
I remember hearing something about you forging a press pass to make your way around Myanmar. The director of Channel One made (the press pass) for me and loaned me a camera, and I went to Somalia, Burma and Sarajevo, and Channel One started airing the stories, which really took off and turned into having reporters in the field.The idea I always had was that if you can transport kids in the classroom, even for a few minutes, and show what life is like for someone their age in a different part of the world, you can make that connection.