2000 was an extraordinary year for Peter Jennings. He literally began the year on the air—On January 1, 2000, he was in the midst of anchoring ABC’s live coverage of the millennium events around the globe. That broadcast was a television event watched by 175 million people.
In a news year dominated by presidential politics, Jennings found time to focus on the world beyond the American elections. His documentary on Jesus, “Peter Jennings Reporting: In Search of Jesus” was a critical success and garnered more viewers than any news program on a broadcast or cable network last year. His prime-time special on the tensions in India and Pakistan broke new ground.
Yet Jennings was never very far away from the presidential election. As the nation waited for the final outcome, Jennings walked the reporters and producers of ABC News through one of the toughest assignments of the year: live analysis of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the battle between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush. It was a quintessential moment for Jennings, who has been the anchor and senior editor of World News Tonight since 1983. With assurance and gentle authority he stage-managed the network’s army of personnel through one of the most extraordinary nights in modern news history. It was the kind of professionalism display he has shown since he joined the network in 1964.
Jennings was in Berlin in the 1960s when the Berlin Wall was going up and there in the 1990s when it came down. He was in Vietnam in the 1960s and the killing fields of Cambodia in the1980s. He has reported from all 50 states and dozens of international locations. He has dealt with such issues such as gun control, the politics of abortion, the crisis in funding for the arts and the politics of the tobacco industry. Jennings has been honored with 12 national Emmys, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, Overseas Press Club Awards, a George Foster Peabody Award and many many others.