A Legend Passes: Peter Jennings Dies at 67

I stopped watching TV news quite a few years ago, but if I opted to turn it on, it was Peter Jennings who I turned to. Who can forget the endless hours after 9/11 that Peter Jennings was there “offering a soothing sense of continuity during a troubled time.”

There are a lot of people who think our job is to reassure the public every night that their home, their community and their nation is safe,” he told author Jeff Alan. “I don’t subscribe to that at all. I subscribe to leaving people with essentially — sorry it’s a cliche — a rough draft of history. Some days it’s reassuring, some days it’s absolutely destructive.”

At a time in our history when it’s hard to break through the endless rhetoric and spin, Peter Jennings will be missed.

Jennings’ announcement four months ago that the longtime would begin treatment for lung cancer came as a shock.

“I will continue to do the broadcast,” he said, his voice husky, in a taped message that night. “On good days, my voice will not always be like this.”

But although Jennings occasionally came to the office between chemotherapy treatments, he never again appeared on the air.

UPDATE: From the NYTimes — Peter Jennings, Urbane News Anchor, Dies at 67

Mr. Jennings’s official ABC biography notes, for example, that as a foreign correspondent, he was “in Berlin in the 1960’s when the Berlin Wall was going up,” and there again, as an anchor, “in the 1990’s when it came down.” Similarly, he was on the ground in Gdansk, Poland, for the birth of the Solidarity labor and political movement, and later for the overthrow of the country’s Communist government.

In addition to reporting from nearly every major world capital and war zone, Mr. Jennings also managed to report from all 50 states, according to the network. He seemed to draw on that collective experience – as well as his practiced ability to calmly describe events as they unfolded live – not long after two hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Over the course of that day, and those that immediately followed, he would spend more than 60 hours on the air in what Tom Shales of The Washington Post, among other critics, praised as a tour de force of interviewing and explanatory broadcast journalism laced with undisguised bewilderment.

NY Times: Peter Jennings Slideshow

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About Pamela Leavey

Pamela Leavey is the Editor in Chief, Owner/Publisher of The Democratic Daily as well as a freelance writer and photographer. Pamela holds a certificate in Contemporary Communications from UMass Lowell, a Journalism Certificate from UMass Amherst and a B.A. in Creative Writing and Digital Age Communications from UMass Amherst UWW.
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4 Responses to A Legend Passes: Peter Jennings Dies at 67

  1. Ginny in Co says:


    I preferred him too. Having been on strike with MSM, I missed the April announcement and just heard of the diagnoses last week.

    🙁 🙁 🙁

  2. Ginny

    Sad sad news. My daughter went to her computer when we came home and I was in the other room, I heard “OH NO, OH NO” coming down the hall and was stunned when she told me. He was a great journalist, in my opinion.

  3. Ginny in Co says:


    Seems like the rest of journalism thought so – with good reason. I wasn’t aware of how many awards he had received. Not surprising. I think he was that kind of class act – made really high quality work seem effortless. I really feel sorry for his kids, early 20’s is a tough time to lose your dad.

    I will try to get the docs to you soon. My ADD brain is getting a little testy because the new program keeps doing things I didn’t tell it to do. If the dictation program doesn’t get hijacked, it will be worth it.

  4. Ginny

    The NYTimes story was the best I have seen so far. We really have reached the end of an era in journalism. We’ve lost the greatest of greats in recent months to resignation and now Jennings passing away.

    Don’t worry about rushing… I’m finishing up two projects for my business this week, that are long over due…