Helene Cooper, White House correspondent for The New York Times, gave the Nelson Benton Lecture at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication on March 20.
Her talk was titled “Covering the President.”
Before covering the White House, Cooper was the diplomatic correspondent for the Times for three years, after a stint on the Times’ editorial page as assistant editor.
Before joining the Times in 2004, Cooper worked for 12 years at The Wall Street Journal, covering international trade, foreign policy and economics out of the newspaper’s Atlanta, Washington and London bureaus.
She is a graduate of Carolina’s J-school and delivered its spring commencement address in 2010.
Cooper is a native of Monrovia, Liberia, and is the author of The New York Times bestseller, "The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood."
The Nelson Benton Lecture Series, which brings distinguished journalists to the school, was established by family and friends of the longtime CBS News anchor and reporter who died in 1988.
Benton began his broadcasting career at radio station WSOC in Charlotte, N.C., after receiving his degree from UNC in 1949. The next year, he established the first television news department in the Southeast at WBTV in Charlotte. In 1960, he joined CBS News in New York City as an assignment editor and reporter. He worked in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and became the New Orleans bureau chief and correspondent for CBS News in 1964. He reported on the civil rights movement in the South and covered the Vietnam War from Saigon, Hue and the Vietnamese countryside. He spent the next decade as a Washington correspondent.
During the early 1970s, he was an anchor on the "CBS Morning News." He covered Watergate and the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. He won an Emmy for a special broadcast about the Watergate tapes. When the country faced an acute shortage of energy resources in the 1970s, he pioneered the energy beat for CBS News.
He was a member of the team of CBS News correspondents who covered the American space program from the days of the Mercury astronauts through the moon landing on July 20, 1969.
Benton was born in Danville, Va. He and his wife Milli had one son, Joe Benton, who now lives in Falls Church, Va., and is a member of the school's Board of Advisers. Milli Benton died in 1994.