Sunday, August 07, 2005

Peter Jennings is dead

As reported by AP and ABC News and countless other news organizations, Peter Jennings died Sunday night at his home in New York City.
He was 67.
I've always been a fan of Jennings. He's been my favorite anchor of the three major networks for a long time. He always had a way about him that didn't seem to politicized the news. He lived a full life in 67 years and will be missed from our television screens.
In announcing Jennings' death to his ABC colleagues, News President David Westin wrote:
For four decades, Peter has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways. None of us will be the same without him.
As you all know, Peter learned only this spring that the health problem he'd been struggling with was lung cancer. With Kayce, he moved straight into an aggressive chemotherapy treatment. He knew that it was an uphill struggle. But he faced it with realism, courage, and a firm hope that he would be one of the fortunate ones. In the end, he was not.
We will have many opportunities in the coming hours and days to remember Peter for all that he meant to us all. It cannot be overstated or captured in words alone. But for the moment, the finest tribute we can give is to continue to do the work he loved so much and inspired us to do.

On Dec. 31, 1999, Jennings anchored ABC's Peabody-award winning coverage of Millennium Eve, "ABC 2000." Some 175 million Americans watched the telecast, making it the biggest live global television event ever. "The day belonged to ABC News," wrote The Washington Post, "...with Peter Jennings doing a nearly superhuman job of anchoring." Jennings was the only anchor to appear live for 25 consecutive hours.
Jennings also led ABC's coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks and America's subsequent war on terrorism. He anchored more than 60 hours that week during the network's longest continuous period of news coverage, and was widely praised for providing a reassuring voice during the time of crisis. TV Guide called him "the center of gravity," while the Washington Post wrote, "Jennings, in his shirt sleeves, did a Herculean job of coverage." The coverage earned ABC News Peabody and duPont awards.
He did everything after dropping out of high school as a sophomore.
As a reporter, Jennings had reported from the front lines of many of the past half-century's most significant events, including:
  • The conflict in Vietnam, which he was one of the first reporters to visit in the 1960s.
  • The construction of the Berlin Wall that same decade and its destruction in the 1990s.
  • The civil rights movement in the southern United States during the 1960s.
  • The struggle against apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • The flowering of the Solidarity movement in Poland.
  • The repression of communism and its demise in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, including Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Romania.
    "I'm fascinatedd by everything, there's just too much going on in too many places and I don't dare miss it," Jennings' said as he began his 40-year career.
    ABC News has posted a tribute/news video on Jennings' career. Be sure you see it.
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