Tony Maciulis & George Anders

Tony Maciulis & George Anders

Media executive Tony Maciulis and journalist and noted author George Anders moderated panel discussions last month at Key Connections events for recent Phi Beta Kappa inductees. Maciulis, a well-known New York news producer, and Anders, who has just published a new book about the power of the liberal arts, You Can Do Anything, shared some of their insights about work, life and learning.


What is your favorite part about your career?

Maciulis​: There’s no such thing as routine in this career. We are constantly presented new stories, problems, challenges and opportunities. I’ve found the same to be true for the lighter fare I’ve produced, like the talk show and now a pilot for a political comedy. I thrive on learning something new each day, and this is definitely the right profession for that passion.

Anders: Spreading new ideas. Often I’m sampling other people’s ideas and conveying the best of them to a wider audience via articles, books, seminars, podcasts, etc.; sometimes I’m synthesizing something fresh on my own.  

Is there a particular skill that you think young professionals should learn to give themselves a leg up on job applications?

Maciulis: In the practical sense, I’d say learn as many aspects of this field as you can. The days of “just a writer” or “just a cameraperson” are over. Today’s journalist is a multimedia animal who can do it all. In a less literal approach, I’d say humor and humility go a long way.

Anders: For getting the job, I’d highly recommend mastering the art of “telling your story.” Employers will cherish you for reasons both logical and emotional when you do this well. In terms of succeeding on the job, get good at solving the problems of your boss’s boss. It will help you focus on projects that are strategically important (and valuable!) rather than getting trapped forever in low-value chores that no one else wants to do.  

How has being a member of ΦΒΚ helped you in your field?

Maciulis: I’m sure there are obvious ways, as it’s on my resume, but I think the truth is it taught me the importance of bringing passion to my work and finding a mentor early. I’m certain a large part of my being ΦΒΚ is due to a professor I had at Columbia, a medievalist named Robert Hanning. He encouraged me to push the boundaries and really opened my mind.

Anders: Early in my career, I got thrown into the metaphorical “deep end of the pool” several times. During high-anxiety moments, knowing that I’d somehow made it through college at a ΦΒΚ-level of success made it easier to believe that somehow, I might be able to master these new challenges, too.  

What’s your go-to self-care practice? How do you take care of yourself?  

Maciulis: I like to run and I take spin classes. I’m a foodie, so cooking, shopping for ingredients, and trying new restaurants is fun. I also love theater, and it helps me escape.

Anders: Hiking. Getting out on the trail isn’t just good exercise; it’s a great place to think – and to conjure up fresh solutions to challenges that aren’t solving themselves.

What book are you reading right now? Are you listening to any podcasts?  

Maciulis: I’m reading Dreamland by Sam Quinones, as I’m trying to learn as much as I can about the opioid crisis. On a lighter note, I love David Axelrod’s podcast. He is SO smart and charming. And, if you love scary movies and TV mysteries, watch “The Fall” with Gillian Anderson on Netflix!

Anders: Sara Baume’s A Line Made by Walking, which is a glorious mash-up of memoir, performance art and YouTube weirdness, all set in Ireland. Ben Sasse’s The Vanishing American Adult, which is a provocative, mind-stretching blend of conservative and progressive thought about the ways we raise our families.