For Brian Stelter '07, the story is just beginning

April 4, 2016

The TU alum and CNN anchor knows exactly how TU contributed to his success.

Brian Stelter '07, Host, CNN's "Reliable Sources"
Brian Stelter '07, Host, CNN's "Reliable Sources"

Most aspiring journalists don’t find themselves choosing between the Washington Post and the New York Times the summer after graduation. That kind of career trajectory is the stuff that movies are made of. It doesn’t actually happen.

Unless you’re Brian Stelter ’07.

“The first friend I made at the New York Times was actually a Towson student,” Stelter recalled as he sat on set at CNN New York for an October video interview. “I was feeling completely out of my element there, pretty terrified to be there as a 21-year-old, and thankfully was able to meet a fellow Towson grad.”

That taste of home is what keeps the young CNN reporter and host of its Sunday morning media critique, “Reliable Sources,” tethered to TU. His two brothers are TU alums, too. As a student, he became the editor-in-chief of the Towerlight, and the rest, as they say, was the first rough draft of history: He spent a few years at the Times and then got a call from CNN. They were looking for someone to replace Howard Kurtz in the anchor’s chair for “Reliable Sources.” Several journalists got trial runs. Stelter got the gig. He was 28.

“To me, there’s such a straight line from being at Towson, working on the school paper, being in my journalism classes, to here—” he looked around the newsroom—“to me being at CNN. All the things I was picking up at school are directly connected to what I’m doing now.”

The Damascus, MD, native said he wrote his way into every job he’s had, but called Towson the best springboard for him to learn the craft, from writing to editing to launching a career. Less than a decade after graduating, he’s gone from being a student to being part of the lesson plan. Clips from his show are used as examples in courses. He keeps in touch with several professors who cheer for him in good times and support him when he’s feeling challenged.

Constantly tweeting, he hasn’t been afraid to give Towson a few public shout-outs.

“I know I wouldn’t be sitting on this set if I hadn’t started at Towson, so I feel this real desire to stay connected to the school, keep up with what’s going on there, and see how the place is changing.”

Stelter is a little more than two years in on a three-year contract with CNN, which may be renewed. Like reporting, he says, life is a chance to write a new script every day.

At 30, Stelter’s story isn’t half finished yet.