Below is one in a series of interviews that profiles our alumni’s experiences and successes in college and life. This articles includes an interview with Ben Bergman ‘00.
What college or university did you attend after Seattle Academy (or what did you pursue instead?) What did you major in? Did you get other degrees?
I majored in politics at Occidental College. Soon I’ll be heading off to Columbia University as a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot fellow in Economics and Business Journalism.
What unique experiences have you had since leaving Seattle Academy? Trips, internships, jobs, etc.
During my senior year of college, I interned at The New York Times and CBS News in Los Angeles. After I graduated I was hired for a three-month stint at NPR’s Morning Edition in Washington D.C. that turned into eight years. During my time at NPR, I served as a producer for some of the most recognizable voices in radio — Renee Montagne, Steve Inskeep, Susan Stamberg, and Linda Wertheimer. I produced interviews with everyone from The Dalai Lama (three times) to Ben Stiller to Ben Affleck.
In 2012, I joined the L.A. NPR station, KPCC, as a reporter.
What are your favorite memories from Seattle Academy? What programs, teams, extracurriculars were you involved in while at Seattle Academy? Who were your most influential teachers at Seattle Academy?
I have so many fond memories from my time at SAAS, mostly from outside the classroom. In no particular order, I remember:
- Playing the Major-General in the Pirates of Penzance
- Playing Scrooge in A Christmas Carol
- Hiking, kayaking, and river rafting on outdoor trips to Alaska and the Southwest
- Sitting on the bench and occasionally playing small-forward for the basketball team.
- Singing in the vocal ensemble
- Competing in speech and debate
My most influential teachers were Rob Phillips, Mark Hoover, Alan Batchelder, Joe Puggelli, Joel Underwood, Steve Retz, Chris Bown, and Melinda Mueller.
Where are you now and what do you do? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? How did Seattle Academy help prepare you for your job today?
I’m living in Los Angeles with my fiancé, Michele, and our dog, Dylan.
I’m a senior reporter covering business and economics at KPCC. I’ve reported extensively on the NFL’s return to Los Angeles after a 20-year absence, the campaign to bring the 2024 Olympics to Southern California, L.A.’s housing affordability problem, the city’s adoption of a $15 minimum wage, and the effect of President Trump’s trade policies on California.
I frequently guest-host KPCC newsmagazines and talk shows and host live coverage of major breaking news events. I also contribute business stories to national NPR and Marketplace programs.
I get to meet a lot of interesting people for the job and some of my favorite interviews have been with former L.A. Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, and author Malcolm Gladwell.
Recently I was selected as a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia Journalism School, where I’ll spend the 2017-2018 academic year studying journalism, business, and economics in New York City.
I hope to continue working in journalism for a long time because I can’t imagine doing anything else, and I think it’s only getting more interesting and important.
My teachers at SAAS – especially Rob, Joe, and Melinda – helped me become a better writer, which was helpful in college and is very helpful for my job now. My teachers at SAAS also helped me think more critically. Speaking and singing on stage made me never afraid to speak in front of crowds or go on the radio. In fact, even to this day when I have anxiety dreams they are never about being on the radio. They are always about me forgetting the lines in a SAAS play.
Below is a video that Ben created for and presented at the Class of 2000 Commencement ceremony. Farewell, Seattle Academy Directed by Benny Bergman ‘00. At the time, Seattle Academy had just purchased and opened the Vanderbilt Building, the beginning of our campus transformation on the 12the Avenue block.