Former chief White House correspondent, guest anchor and reporter of 17 years for ABC News and 21-year veteran of NBC News, John Cochran brings a special personal context to our time in Gdansk. As NBC's Chief European Correspondent during the struggle of the Solidarity union, after the Communist crackdown and suppression of the media in December 1981 (when WaBesa was put under house arrest), Mr. Cochran smuggled videotaped reports out of Poland by putting them inside the hubcaps of giant Swedish trucks traveling in and out of the country.
More than 20 years have passed since these two men last met. It was a decade after Cochran's initial coverage of Lech WaBesa during the struggle of the Solidarity union when President George H.W. Bush scheduled a trip to visit then President of Poland WaBesa. WaBesa would grant only one interview to an American TV correspondent before Bush's arrival; that invitation was extended to John Cochran. Cochran had been in London on his honeymoon with his new bride, Barbara Stubbs Cochran (at that time the Geneva-based executive producer of NBC's "Meet the Press"); they both flew to Warsaw to do the interview.
Cochran has won three Emmy awards and the Peabody and Alfred I. duPont awards for his role in news coverage. A native of Montgomery, Alabama, he began his journalism career while at the University of Alabama. He received a master's degree from the University of Iowa. He will be traveling with his wife, Barbara Stubbs Cochran, the Curtis B. Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Reporting at the Missouri School of Journalism, former CBS bureau chief in Washington, former president of Radio-TV News Directors Association and an alumna of Columbia University.
Mr. Cochran will present several lectures on his perspective of his life as a reporter on historical events both during his tenure covering the White House and as the Chief European Correspondent for NBC News.