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Five Famous Alums: Broadcasters and Journalists

From NPR to sports, list includes trailblazers

Among the approximately 312,000 graduates of Boston University are a number of men and women who have distinguished themselves in their chosen profession. Statesmen. Writers. Scientists. Theologians. Actors. Athletes. Each week this summer, we’re bringing you photos of five of these notable alums.

This week our spotlight is on five boundary-pushing broadcasters and journalists.

Bill O’Reilly (COM’75)

Bill O’Reilly (COM’75) is a television anchor, journalist, author, and host of The O’Reilly Factor, which debuted on the Fox News Channel in 1996. Known for his politically conservative views and sometimes controversial statements, O’Reilly, who earned a master’s in broadcast journalism at BU, was a correspondent for CBS News and ABC News and an anchor of the syndicated show Inside Edition before becoming host of his eponymous broadcast. He has written a series of best-selling historical thrillers, including 2015’s Killing Reagan. Here, O’Reilly at a College of Communication award ceremony in 2009. Photo by Vernon Doucette

Howard Stern

Howard Stern (CGS’74, COM’76) is one of America’s best-known radio personalities, host of the long-running Howard Stern Show, which was nationally syndicated on terrestrial radio from 1986 to 2005 before moving to Sirius XM Radio in 2006. The controversial shock-jock and self-proclaimed King of All Media (he filed for a trademark for the moniker in 2006) began his career in radio as an undergrad at WTBU, where he hosted a weekly show called the King Schmaltz Bagel Hour. He was fired from that gig after airing a segment called “Making the Bishop Blush.” In addition to his radio show, Stern has been a frequent presence on TV, appearing as a judge on seasons 7 through 10 of the reality hit series America’s Got Talent. The best-selling author of two books, Private Parts and Miss America, Stern was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2012. Above, Stern in May 2012. Photo by Bill Norton

Bill Simmons (COM’92)

Bill Simmons (COM’92) is a sports columnist, analyst, author, and sportscaster. After earning a master’s degree in print journalism at BU, he worked as a high school sports reporter for the Boston Herald and freelanced for the Boston Phoenix before launching the popular website the Boston Sports Guy. That eventually landed him a job with ESPN, where he became one of the country’s most popular sportswriters and created 30 for 30, a series of documentaries about sports by different filmmakers, tied to coincide with the network’s 30th anniversary. Simmons also was editor-in-chief of ESPN’s influential sports and pop culture website Grantland, which garnered a cult following before shutting down in October 2015. He is currently the host of HBO’s new weekly talk show Any Given Wednesday and is the author of two best sellers, Now I Can Die in Peace and The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy. Above, Simmons (center) with his 30 for 30 coproducers Connor Schell (left) and John Dahl at the 2010 Peabody Awards ceremony. Photo by Anders Krusberg/Peabody Awards

Stephen Kurkjian (CAS’66), Michael Rezendes (CAS’78), and Sacha Pfeiffer (MET’94, SED’12)

Investigative reporters Sacha Pfeiffer (MET’94, SED’12), Stephen Kurkjian (CAS’66), and Michael Rezendes (CAS’78) were members of the Boston Globe Spotlight team that won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in Boston’s Roman Catholic archdiocese. Their groundbreaking reporting was the basis of the 2015 Academy Award–winning film Spotlight, with Mark Ruffalo portraying Rezendes and Rachel McAdams playing Pfeiffer. Rezendes and Pfeiffer are still at the Globe: he is an investigative reporter and political writer, and she covers nonprofits, philanthropy, and wealth. After Kurkjian retired from the Globe, he wrote a book about the notorious 1990 art theft at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist. As a Globe staffer, Kurkjian won Pulitzers in 1972 and 1980 for investigative reporting. Above, Kurkjian (from left), Pfeiffer, and Rezendes at the Globe shortly after their Pulitzer win. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

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