The first big story Aneesh covered was a small house fire. At the time, he was a kid reporter for his hometown cable access channel and, like any good seventh-grader, he took the responsibility of not overstating facts quite seriously. Perhaps too seriously. Because despite the fire trucks lined down the street, despite the firemen confirming the fire’s cause, he looked to the camera and said, “it appears there may have been a fire as perhaps suggested to you by the person you just saw me speak with.” Perd Hapley, eat your heart out.
Granted, it wasn’t the most eloquent of beginnings. But he’d get better. And a decade later, after a degree from Harvard and a Fulbright in India, Aneesh had gone from reporting for a cable access network to reporting for the Cable News Network.
At CNN, he made a name for himself covering the 2004 tsunami in Asia before moving to Baghdad just as the Iraq War was starting to unravel. His reporting there took him from the front lines of battle to the front row of Saddam Hussein’s trial and everywhere in between. After a year in Iraq, Aneesh moved to Cairo, becoming CNN’s first Middle East Correspondent. From that perch, he covered the region but mainly traveled into Iran as the Islamic Republic was ramping up its nuclear program.
In 2008, home came calling when Barack Obama emerged as the Democratic nominee for President. Aneesh left CNN to join the campaign in Chicago, swapping out reporting for speechwriting. Obama’s win took Aneesh to the halls of Treasury, the much longer halls of the Pentagon, and ultimately the White House as a Presidential Speechwriter, which is as dreamy a dream job as you can imagine.
If there’s one impulse that explains his career, it’s running towards wherever the most interesting thing imaginable is taking place. That’s what brought him to Baghdad and Tehran. That’s what took him to Chicago and Treasury. That’s what drew him to the Pentagon and the White House. And that’s why he’s now at OZY, helping build the next big thing in news.