Spring 2023 Bohnett Fellow
Henry “Hank” Plante is an American television reporter and newspaper columnist. Winner of the George Foster Peabody Award and multiple Emmys, he covered California for three decades for TV stations in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
He now writes occasional columns for newspapers in California, usually focusing on politics or gay and lesbian issues. One of the first openly gay TV reporters in the United States, Plante is the recipient of various honors from LGBT rights advocacy organizations and trade groups. In addition, Plante was featured in the documentary “5B”, which was selected for the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The film is about the first AIDS ward in the nation, which Plante covered as a reporter.
A native of Detroit, Plante worked in both radio and television journalism, including 25 years at KPIX-TV (CBS 5) in San Francisco, before retiring in April 2010. Before that, he worked in print journalism, including at The Washington Post. At KPIX-TV, he interviewed a range of national and state political figures, including five U.S. Presidents and numerous Governors, legislators, and opinion makers. He began his career as a journalist in Washington, D.C. at the Sentinel Newspapers, where he was managing editor, and at The Washington Post, where he worked on the city desk.
His awards have included several local and national Emmys, as well as the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, in 1986, as part of CBS 5’s “AIDS Lifeline” reporting team. He has also been awarded the Pioneer Award at the GLAAD Media Awards, and the James R. Harrison Award from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. He was also named “Reporter of the Year” by the Associated Press (APTRA’S “Chris Harris Award”). Hank was inducted into the Emmy Silver Circle by the National Television Academy, which honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to broadcasting. Plante was inducted into the LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame in 2010. Plante’s community service has included work with the Human Rights Campaign, the Lambda Legal Defense Fund, GLAAD, Project Open Hand, and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. He lives in Palm Springs, California.
“The News Never Stops,” a profile on Hank in the Palm Springs Life magazine.
Study Group: The Politics of Journalism and the Journalism of Politics
This study group explored controversial questions about what it means to cover politics as a journalist today. What is News? Who gets to decide what gets on newscasts, websites, and in newspapers? How do I get my cause or my client or my passion in the news? How can I become a TV or print journalist? How do you come up with a story idea and get it on TV or published on deadline that day? How do you really listen without judgment? Why is the essence of communication intention? What did Elie Wiesel mean when he said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” (A hint: put down your phone).
Spring 2023 Semester Recap
Hank Plante said this about his experience at USC’s Center for the Political Future: “What I gained from my CPF Fellowship was new hope for the future because of how smart and engaging the students are, and because of their similar goal to make the world a better place. My favorite part of the experience was being contacted by one of the students sharing how she is now considering a career in journalism, and then putting her in contact with one of the news leaders who was our guest. We need great journalists, and I hope I helped steer some bright young people onto that path.”
USC students in Hank’s study group shared this about their experience:
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Hank’s study group. I received advice and heard about experiences I would never get in a classroom. Hank provided me with career advice that will serve me well for years as I continue on my path in politics.”
“Hank was very open with the students. He was able to describe his mindset perfectly and he seemed to always be able to recall the tiniest of details. I learned how to be objective and how objectivity is a different concept than it has been. My favorite part was the ability to be in a small group with him.”
“I can’t imagine a better study group experience! Hank provided us with a diverse group of speakers and resources and shared his amazing career experience. The breadth of this study group was amazing for the short amount of weeks we had.”
Hank shared his thoughts on the importance of politics, his first political experience, and his advice for having respectful political discourse in his “Quick Takes: Q&A with CPF Fellow Hank Plante” video.