- A “Wisconsin Badger for life,” the network’s Chief Congressional Correspondent graduated from UW-Madison in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.
CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju will deliver the winter commencement address at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, his alma mater. Raju, who got his start in journalism as a student reporter for the Badger Herald, will speak to the winter graduates at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19 in the Kohl Center. While at UW Madison, Raj also worked for the student radio station WSUM. He graduated from UW-Madison in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He was raised in suburban Chicago.
“I love the University of Wisconsin,” Raju told On Wisconsin magazine earlier this year. “It’s like home to me. I love Madison. There’s really no other place I’d rather be.”
In a 2018 blog on the university’s alumni association, Raju said the “University of Wisconsin is not just my alma mater, it’s part of my identity.” His Twitter profile describes him as “Wisconsin Badger for life.”
A prominent presence on the cable network, the Indian American has been covering Capitol Hill, congressional races and the presidential campaigns for the past several years. Before joining CNN, Raju was a senior congressional reporter at Politico, and before that, he covered the Senate leadership for The Hill newspaper. Raju got his start in Washington as an associate editor and reporter at Inside Washington Publishers, where he covered federal environmental policy and later reported for Congressional Quarterly, writing about energy and environmental issues.
“Raju has developed a reputation as a reporter who can find out what politicians are privately discussing out of the public’s view,” a profile on Manu on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website says. “And he is well known for his sharp and skillful questioning of politicians, a skill he showcased in 2014 when he moderated debates in two of the biggest races in the country — for a key Senate seat in Colorado and a hotly contested governor’s race there as well.”
He has won multiple journalism awards for his reporting on the major battles consuming Washington and his coverage of campaign politics. In 2012, Raju was part of a team of four reporters who won the White House Correspondents Association’s prestigious Merriman Smith award for presidential reporting under deadline pressure for their coverage of the debt ceiling crisis. In 2015, Raju also was awarded first prize by the Society of Professional Journalists in D.C. for beat coverage of the 2014 midterm elections, and a Folio: Eddie Award for a feature profile on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Raju hails from a family of writers, including his late grandfather, Gopalakrishna Adiga, a preeminent poet in the Kannada language whose works are widely studied in India today. Raju lives in Northwest D.C. with his wife, Archana Mehta and their twins.
(Top photo, Courtesy Manu Raju, Facebook)