In February 2021, John Harwood, award-winning journalist and expert in presidential politics, was named a White House Correspondent for CNN. But he began his journalism career much earlier, working as a copy-boy for the Washington Star while he was still a high school student in Maryland. Before his current position, Harwood served as CNBC's chief Washington correspondent and editor-at-large for 13 years.
While covering each of the last ten presidential elections, he also traveled extensively to South Africa, where he covered deepening unrest against the apartheid regime. In 1989, Harwood was appointed as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where he taught for a year. Among many journalistic accomplishments, he has received an Emmy nomination for his live CNBC town hall with President Barack Obama. He also moderated the Republican presidential debates on CNBC in 2011 and 2015.
Before Harwood became known for his signature candid delivery on air, he chose Duke University to sharpen his writing and research skills. In contrast to many of his peers at Duke, Harwood had already gained some experience in both politics and journalism. When he was only 11, Harwood had appeared in a TV ad for Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign. Later, he was the editor of his high school newspaper and part-time employee for the Washington Star. At Duke, Harwood did more than study. He also joined the school's Phi Delta Theta chapter, commonly known as Phi Delt, which is an international secret and social fraternity. But his studies were never neglected, and in 1978 he graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a concentration in history and economics.
Since then, Harwood has made significant efforts throughout the years to maintain a strong relationship with his alma mater. For one, he's been part of Duke Magazine's editorial advisory board for numerous years now. In addition, he has also taken time away from Washington to return to campus for different public events held by his alma mater. These visits span more than two decades, with Harwood first taking part in a political 2002 discussion held at Duke's Sanford Institute for Public Policy. Later in 2016, on the heels of that year’s presidential election, Harwood participated in a Duke in D.C. alumni forum titled, "What Just Happened? A Look at the Wild, Unpredictable, and Historic Election of 2016.” Speaking directly to this matter, Harwood said, “Ideology plus partisanship plus race has hardened the way people think about who is on their side.” Aside from his expertise in politics, Harwood also remains a loyal supporter of the Duke basketball program, which he regularly tweets about.