Bob Woodward: ‘I get up in the morning and ask, what are the bastards hiding?’

My dad said I should have asked Woodward if he liked that Robert Redford played him in "All the President's Men." Sorry dad, didn't ask that.

Last week I got the chance to interview longtime investigative reporter Bob Woodward while he was at my workplace, The Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

I talked with him one-on-one and then listened to two talks he delivered at Poynter. Here are some of the highlights from my interview with him and his talks:

  • Woodward, who knows Eric Schmidt, said the Google CEO’s tombstone should say, “I killed newspapers.”
  • “It’s odd that the scandal got called Watergate. It turned out the secret code word for the operation was ‘gemstone,’ but we didn’t know that for a long time.” Woodward said. If they had, the suffix for big breaking stories would have been “stone,” like “Monicastone,” instead of “Monicagate.”
  • “So much is hidden. I get up in the morning and I ask the question: ‘What are the bastards hiding?’ Not as a cynical reporter, but as a realistic reporter. People are always hiding things.”
  • “You get the truth at night, the lies during the day.”
  • The perfect time to visit someone, he told students, is after 8 p.m. “They’ve eaten. And if they’re home, they probably haven’t gone to bed.”
  • “How much do we know about what really goes on in government, particularly in the White House? Do we get it? In the case of the Nixon administratoon with the tapes, I think we know 90 percent, but I don’t think we know everything.”
  • “We have the housing bubble and the bubble, and in journalism I think we have a news bubble.”
  • “I think there’s too much emphasis on speed and feeding the impatience people have. … In many ways, journalism is not often enough up to the task of dealing with the dangerous and fragile nature of the world, or the community, or anything you might try to understand.”
  • “The world requires “high quality, probing journalism. And there’s just been not enough of it.”
  • Woodward has a laptop, iPhone and iPad, which he uses to read The Washington Post and The New York Times. “I have a bridge game I play on it, too,” he said. “It keeps an old man’s mind functioning.”

You can read my full story about him here.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

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