Rockefeller Business and Entrepreneurial Leaders (RBEL) Conversation with Bob Hager '60

Read an MLDP Participant’s account of our most recent session in Rockefeller Business and Entrepreneurial Leaders (RBEL). For more information, about MLDP, click here.

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On the 27th of February, the Rockefeller Business and Entrepreneurial Leaders (RBEL) student program invited Bob Hager ‘60, a former correspondent for NBC news of 35 years and Emmy Award winner.

Reminiscing on his time here at Dartmouth College, Hager mentioned that he knew exactly what he wanted to from the moment he stepped foot on campus. Diligent in his studies and anxious to get involved in the broadcasting business, Hager graduated from Dartmouth early in order to take a job in play-by-play radio broadcast journalism for Minor League Baseball.

After spending a number of years with little pay down South to get experience over the ‘mic,’ Hager was ready to move from radio to TV. Interviewing with NBC and ABC News, they both told him that he would have to report from Vietnam for his first stint. Trying to balance an increased salary and moving his entire family abroad, Hager decided to take the job with NBC News. He knew he had to go to Vietnam if he was ever going to get into the business. It was time.

After  “earning his stripes,” as Hager called it, in Vietnam, he was stationed in Europe—first in Berlin, and then in Moscow—to cover the Cold War. After three years in Europe, Hager moved back to the United States where he began to work as a field reporter in New York City. He spent the bulk of his career and retired in Washington, DC.

Reflecting on his career in news broadcasting, Hager brought up a number of highlights including his high-risk coverage of the 1979 Islamic Revolution from Tehran and his emotional correspondent work for the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon as an aviation specialist.

His advice to “making it” in the business of journalism was the following, “I had a ‘fire in my belly.’” Hager really wanted to be a network reporter from his days in college, and knew that if he worked hard he could achieve those goals. A quintessential “American Dream” of sorts, Hager mentioned that while talent is important in the journalism industry—having the image and the voice—it is not the most important. Having a tenor voice, instead of a bass voice, Hager was behind from day one. His dedication to putting in a number of hours into preparation for shows as inconsequential as short blips on a day show made him stand out among his co-workers. He eventually made it to the top of the broadcast journalism field, fulfilling the dreams he laid out for himself as an 18 year-old college student at Dartmouth College.

- Luke Decker '15, MLDP Winter 2013 Participant