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MTV’s Gideon Yago comes to campus

Molly Griffin | Thursday, December 2, 2004

It’s not easy for anyone to get the kind of life experience of which Gideon Yago can boast. At the age of 26, Yago has accomplished what most news anchors have to wait a lifetime to achieve. He has interviewed important politicians, spent time in the Middle East as a correspondent for MTV and hosted a number of specials on hot-button issues such as drug addiction and sex laws. In spite of his youth, he has had an interesting and varied career that has focused not only on politics, but also entertainment and other areas of the media world. Gideon Yago was born in Madison, Wis. and attended Columbia University in New York as an undergraduate. Yago’s first appearance on MTV was as a winning contestant on the MTV game show Idiot Savant during his freshman year of college, and he returned as a senior to apply at a career fair. Yago began his work at MTV as a writer and correspondent for “Choose or Lose” 2000 and worked on the McCain and Bush-Cheney campaigns, and he has worked for the network for four years. Since his start on the campaign trail, Yago has interviewed a host of important political figures including President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Ralph Nader, Senator John Kerry, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and Ambassador Paul Bremer. As an MTV correspondent, he acts as the voice of the newer generation of voters and asks questions that have greater relevance to their lives, such as college tuition and the job market. Along with his political interviews, Yago has been a key figure in the MTV “Choose or Lose” campaign aimed at making younger voters more informed about campaign issues and getting them to the polls for the upcoming presidential election. Recent specials have included “Louder Now!” which is the story centered on Yago and a young soldier on the campaign trail; “20 Million Questions for John Kerry,” which brought viewers’ questions to the presidential candidate; and “Work It,” a special on the how the job market and outsourcing affect younger workers that featured news legend Walter Cronkite in his first MTV appearance ever. Yago has been one of MTV’s major correspondents in the Middle East during the conflict in the area. Immediately after the Iraq war began, he filmed “The Diary of Gideon in Kuwait” while on location in Kuwait City. He returned to the area in 2003 to film “The Diary of Gideon in Baghdad,” which followed the lives of young Iraqis and American soldiers to see how the war was affecting them. Aside from his work in the political arena, Yago has had a varied and interesting career. He has worked on specials like “Behind the Grammys” (2004) and “MTV Video Music Awards Opening Act” (2001-2003). He was named on of the “25 Hottest Stars Under 25” last year by Teen People Magazine, and he toured with the band, Radiohead, in 2001. Besides working as a news anchor, Yago writes for MTVNews.com and has provided pieces for Spin, Vice and Nylon. Yago will be speaking at Washington Hall on Oct. 10th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the LaFortune Box office and cost $2 for students and $5 for faculty and staff.