Student lucks out with Sully interviewDanville Weekly
February 07, 2009
Bonus high school story includes iconic Katie Couric
When Danville’s hero pilot Capt. Chesley Sullenberger III and his wife Lorrie granted their first interview to Katie Couric of CBS, they invited along a student journalist from Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon.
Jega Sanmugam, 15, interviewed both the Sullenbergers and Couric at the Sullenberger home on Jan. 30.
"I was greatly honored and humbled when I was chosen to be the first person to interview Captain Sullenberger for a print article since the historic landing on the Hudson," wrote Sanmugam in the Feb. 7 special edition of the school newspaper, Wildcat Tribune.
"When 60 Minutes first learned of the Captain and Lorrie’s desire to offer an early interview to a student journalist, they not only embraced the idea, but further granted that young journalist an interview with Katie Couric about the current state of journalism," said Alex Clemens, a Sullenberger family spokesman, in a press release.
"I was pleased by Couric’s down-to-earth, energetic and enthusiastic personality," wrote Sanmugam. "Her friendly and lively nature put me at ease and enabled me to have an open discussion with her."
He asked her questions about her start in journalism and famous people she has interviewed. She told him the most memorable political leader she’s interviewed was probably Ross Perot when he was running for president.
Sanmugam’s interviews can be found at the school’s Web site: [www.dvhigh.net www.dvhigh.net].
Couric’s interview with the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 will be aired on 60 Minutes tomorrow night, Feb. 8.
The Sullenbergers were feted by the Town of Danville two weeks ago at a celebration that drew 5,000 people. The town was also crowded with journalists who had worked hard for 10 days to get the story of the heroic pilot to their readers and viewers around the world who were captivated by the event.
The Sullenbergers chose Couric for their first interview and also the student journalist so were pleased when CBS agreed.
"The Sullenberger family is grateful to CBS for actively demonstrating a commitment to student journalism," said Clemens.
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