Name: Peter Greenberg
Marital status: Married to Hande
Career: Travel editor, “CBS News” and host of “The Travel Detective with Peter Greenberg”
Where do you call home today? 35,000 feet
Introduction: I interviewed Peter Greenberg, the multiple Emmy-winning investigative reporter while he was in Riyadh and I was in my basement in Littleton. Peter is known in the travel industry as the “Travel Detective” and is the Travel Editor for “CBS News,” appearing on “CBS This Morning.” Greenberg’s professional life has been filled with incredible journeys and experiences and his website details so many practical travel tips and ideas that it is impossible to begin to describe them here.
But a few notable adventures include Emmy-winning reporting on the Miracle on the Hudson and the orphan flight out of Vietnam, “What Happened to the Children?” More recently, Greenberg reports on his travels with practical tips regarding airline food, flying with a wheelchair, and how to stay fit while travelling; and interesting destinations, including hidden gems, underwater hotels and best-value cruises.
However, one fact that stands out that you won’t find on his website says as much about Greenberg as anything: at the young age of 69, Greenberg continues his duties as a volunteer fireman in New York. No matter what Greenberg takes on, he is all in.
What surprises people about you?
That I can do as much as I do in the amount of time I’m given. I’m also an active fireman in New York on active duty.
How do people describe you?
As Austin Powers’ original, international man of mystery. Seriously, I’d like to think they describe me as well-informed, funny and always attempting to give context to information.
Who do you most admire?
My sister. She, like my father, is the most dedicated doctor I know and cares about the patient as a person as much as she cares for them medically.
Favorite Denver metro restaurant?
I love to walk up and down in LoDo and pick a new restaurant to try each time.
What was the last great book you read?
A Writer’s Notebook by W. Somerset Maugham. It’s one of those books you can open at any page randomly and appreciate where you land.
What is your biggest fashion faux pas?
I refuse to dress for success and have somehow beaten the odds.
What is one thing that you absolutely can’t live without?
My wife. Because of my job and heavy travel schedule, she and I have a rule that we can’t be separated for more than four days at a time.
What was your last major purchase?
I bought a KIA Telluride.
What gadget can you not live without?
What are your hobbies?
I love the water. I live on a boat. If I can’t get out on the water every four or five days I am an unhappy man.
What is your most memorable Colorado experience?
When I was doing a story on Bette Midler performing at Red Rocks, it wasn’t just the concert, but Red Rocks itself that was so incredible. I’d see anything at Red Rocks. I also remember going out on a training mission with 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson. There is nothing quite like the sound of a tank to strike fear in the heart of an enemy soldier.
What one word describes Coloradans to you?
What is your favorite spot in Colorado to visit?
Aspen in October.
Are you involved with any charities?
I’m involved in All Hands and Hearts, which was formed to provide relief to residents in areas affected by natural disasters worldwide and Operation USA, which is dedicated to helping communities who have suffered disaster, disease or extreme poverty.
What took you down this career path?
It really was an accident. I was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin and had no idea what I wanted to do. Someone suggested I either join a frat or join a newspaper. I walked to fraternity row and immediately turned around. I walked into the paper during a protest. There were smoke and broken windows and no one was left, so they hired me on the spot. And even though my first story was terrible they had to publish it because they had nothing else to run.
Did you travel a lot as a kid?
I have been traveling since I was six months old. On my first plane trip, I got a certificate as the very first member of the American Airlines Sky Cradle Club. I’m still waiting for my benefits, though.
One of your Emmys was for your "NBC News" breaking story “Miracle on the Hudson.” It’s such an iconic story. What do you remember most about covering it?
Going back into the flight simulator and recreating the exact incident and realizing how lucky everybody was. If the bird strike had happened a minute sooner they wouldn’t have cleared the George Washington Bridge and a minute later, they wouldn’t have reached the Hudson. It really is incredible how lucky the really were.
You also won an Emmy for Best Investigative Reporting for your ABC special “What Happened to the Children?” a special on the final orphan flight out of Vietnam. What was special to you on that story?
The government’s complicit behavior with a drug manufacturer to take advantage of the most vulnerable children. We broke it open and got the kids the medical attention they rightfully deserved.
Before you were winning Emmys, you began your journalism career with Newsweek in California. What were the lessons you learned there to guide you into being such a well-known journalist?
Same lesson. Never take a “no” from someone who is empowered to give you a “yes.” Not everyone is a good storyteller but everyone has a good story worth telling.
Do you have any tips for young journalists today?
Read three newspapers a day, not online, in print before 9 a.m. and tell me something I don’t know.
How has social media impacted journalism in general?
Social media has made it tougher to be a good journalist because no one is checking facts on social media so there are a lot of falsehoods out there.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Doing exactly what I’m doing.
Scott S. Evans is graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Virginia School of Law and is a father of two, a business litigation attorney, writer and high school lacrosse coach living in Centennial. Scott has freelanced for various newspapers, magazines, journals and academic publications including The Wall Street Journal.
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