Neil Vigdor, BA ’99

neil-vigdor

 

We are thrilled to highlight one of five distinguished alumni who were inducted into the Vanderbilt Student Media Hall of Fame in 2023. The Hall of Fame honors alumni who have achieved outstanding personal or professional accomplishments or made distinguished and lasting contributions to their field or to society in general.

When people ask Neil Vigor, politics reporter for The New York Times, where he went to journalism school, he says his “nearly four years as a writer and editor at The Vanderbilt Hustler amounted to my de facto J-school.”

Vigdor majored in English and communication studies at Vanderbilt, where he contributed to The Vanderbilt Review literary and arts journal and worked as assistant sports editor, opinion editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief at The Hustler.

He said production nights at The Hustler “in the catacombs of Sarratt Student Center are at the top of the list” of his favorite memories about working in student media at Vanderbilt.

“They represented a master class in news gathering, storytelling and meeting deadlines,” Vigdor said. “Those all-nighters, spent obsessing over ledes, headlines and what we were going to order for breakfast at the Pancake Pantry, forged treasured friendships. Our diplomas, we would often say, were made from newsprint.”

Vigdor said he gained a great deal from his collegiate journalism experiences, including “lessons in accuracy, journalistic integrity, cultivating sources, my zest for being in the middle of a big story and, yes, dealing with an occasional aggrieved reader.”

After graduating in 1999, Vigdor worked as a reporter at The Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Hearst Connecticut Media Group and The Hartford Courant. He is an award-winning journalist who has covered politics throughout his career, interviewing, among others, Donald Trump, Michelle Obama, Mitt Romney, and Jesse Jackson.

Vigdor said he can remember vividly the day in 2019 when his first editor at The New York Times called to offer him a job as a breaking news reporter.

“He told me that the role was temporary and involved working mostly nights and weekends to start, but it could yield a staff position,” Vigdor said. “It was a blessing and validated the years of hard work that I had put in, from my early days as an editorial assistant writing obituaries and covering night meetings to my more recent accomplishments as a political reporter in Connecticut. About six months later, I had earned a staff position.”

Today, readers of The New York Times can follow Vigdor’s coverage of U.S. politics almost daily. He previously was part of The Times’ Democracy Project, and his reporting focuses on voting, election laws, and disinformation. In his spare time, he is a yogi and an avid amateur photographer who captures stunning images from nature, urban life, and travel.

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