Peter Jennings

Peter Jennings, longtime ABC Nightly News anchor, died August 7, after a short, determined battle against lung cancer.

Jennings, a Canadian who had dropped out of high school, was known for his ubiquitous presence at seemingly all the major breaking news events of the past two four decades, and for his extensive travels worldwide which brought the news into our living rooms. Jennings was never more front and center than when reporting on September 11th. According to today’s New York Times, “[Jennings] 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.”

Remarkably, Jennings managed to co-write, with Todd Brewster, two books during his journalism career. The Century (1998), wrote a companion book to the popular 12-hour ABC-TV documentary series by the same name. Using photographs and interviews, Jennings and Brewster spanned 100 years in American history .

In their second collaboration, In Search of America (2002), Jennings and Brewster spent time in six cities (Aiken, SC; Washington, D.C.; Salt Lake City; Plano, TX; Boulder, CO; and Gary, IN) checking the pulse of American opinions. Their observations on America’s thoughts about religion, globalization, and popular culture, among other topics, go a long way to explain the contentious nature of today’s national discussion.

Peter Jennings was 67.