08 August 2005

Peter Jennings, 1938-2005

I feel strange writing a post about someone I didn't even know, but I suppose in some way millions of people knew Peter Jennings, and felt comfortable enough to invite him into their homes for a few moments each week. Even though he hasn't been at the anchor desk for four months now, it seems that he never really left. But now he has, and the world of journalism seems emptier for it.

News anchors are often unusual creatures. Typically, they are little more than a pleasant face with a pleasant voice and a nice smile. Often, they seem self-absorbed, even heartless--preoccupied more with celebrity than with news. Maybe this is stereotypical, but sterotypes don't develop on their own. Peter Jennings was never like this. Perhaps this is just my opinion, but of all the news anchors--Brokaw, Rather, Williams, etc.--Jennings had the most integrity, the most real humanity. You felt that when he reported a story, especially when it dealt with international concerns, that he was invested in it and had an intellectual awareness of the topic. You could never imagine him getting tongue-tied or flustered in the midst of a conversation or the heat of debate, nor did you ever really sense that he needed a teleprompter.

Anyways, those are my thoughts. It's sad to lose someone who in a very unique way you grew up with, and it's sad to lose someone who was so professional in his occupation. But undoubtedly he'll inspire others to do equally good work, and for that example we can all be very thankful.

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