In 2000 he switched career paths, taking a job as the host of ABC's reality show The Mole.
My last year at ABC, I was working overnights anchoring this newscast, then during the day at 20/20.
After Cooper graduated from Yale University, he tried to gain entry-level employment with ABC answering telephones, but was unsuccessful.
Finding it hard to get his foot in the door of on-air reporting, Cooper decided to enlist the help of a friend in making a fake press pass.
He later returned to filming stories from a variety of war-torn regions around the globe, including Somalia, Bosnia, and Rwanda.
On assignment for several years, Cooper had very slowly become desensitized to the violence he was witnessing around him; the horrors of the Rwandan Genocide became trivial: "I would see a dozen bodies and think, you know, it's a dozen, it's not so bad." On the side of the road [Cooper] came across five bodies that had been in the sun for several days.
At age 17, after graduating from Dalton a semester early, Cooper traveled around Africa for several months on a "survival trip".
He contracted malaria on the trip and was hospitalized in Kenya.
He was ultimately able to sell his home-made news segments to Channel One.
On 8 September 2003, Cooper became the anchor of Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN.