"5 Held in Plot to Bug Democrats' Office Here." That's how the Washington Post's reporting on Watergate began. 40 years later, it is still legendary.
Nothing, it seems, can diminish the legacy of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's dogged pursuit of the scandal that brought Richard Nixon down. Even after people have argued that the reporting didn't have much of an impact at the time, or have raised questions about the authenticity of some of the details in "All The President's Men," Watergate endures, the crowning achievement and eternal touchstone for the Post.
On Monday, Woodward, Bernstein, Ben Bradlee and a whole host of Post and media luminaries gathered at --where else?--the Watergate hotel in Washington to reflect on its legacy. The Post also created a special section on its website to mark the occasion, along with a lengthy piece by Woodward and Bernstein about the scandal.
In a web video, the major players held forth on what it was like back then.
From Bernstein: "We really covered this like local reporters."
From Tom Brokaw, a White House reporter at the time: "I don't think there's been an event in my lifetime that's had such an impact on journalism," Brokaw said.
From Lesley Stahl, also then a White House correspondent: "There were all these lulls. The story would just disappear. And then Woodward and Bernstein would write another piece and it would flare up."
From Katharine Graham, the Post's iconic publisher, in archival footage: "What we did was a newspaper's defined job, which is to keep a story alive when they were trying to hush it up."
The Post has also put all of the stories from Watergate online for everyone to read.