Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life by Kate Darnton, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life

Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life

by Kate Darnton
     
 

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For many Americans, Peter Jennings was the voice and face that gave shape and meaning to every day’s news. In this oral biography, readers witness Jennings’ extraordinary rise to the top of his profession, but they get to know him as a person, too. It brings together memories contributed by Peter’s friends, family, competitors, colleagues, and

Overview

For many Americans, Peter Jennings was the voice and face that gave shape and meaning to every day’s news. In this oral biography, readers witness Jennings’ extraordinary rise to the top of his profession, but they get to know him as a person, too. It brings together memories contributed by Peter’s friends, family, competitors, colleagues, and interview subjects. They reveal facets of a man many of us felt we knew well—but only because he greeted us every weekday evening from our television sets.

Peter Jennings was a celebrity, of course, but in these pages he is remembered as a loyal friend and a devoted family man. Throughout his life, Peter Jennings was driven by a passion to seek the truth and convey that truth accurately, simply, cleanly, and elegantly to his American audience. He was our voice.

Editorial Reviews

Pahrump Valley Times
A very good lauding of [Jennings's] life and his work...news junkies and current-events mavens will enjoy.
Publishers Weekly

The bulk of the interviews in this oral history-co-edited by Sherr, his colleague at ABC News, freelance book editor Darnton, and Jennings's widow-were conducted in the days immediately following the anchorman's death from lung cancer in August 2005. Friends and fellow reporters retrace every step of his career, starting with his first jobs in Canadian radio to his coverage of major events like the 9/11 attacks. When he was just 26, he was hired by ABC to anchor the evening news, a job he himself would later admit he was "simply unqualified" for at the time. So he demanded to be sent out into the field as a foreign correspondent, building up his experience until he became what Ted Koppel calls "a complete package" as a journalist: smart, attractive and graceful under pressure. The tone of the interviews is predictably positive: even the criticism that he allowed ABC's ratings to slip by refusing to devote more airtime to O.J. Simpson's murder trial is immediately followed by praise for his expanded coverage of the Bosnian genocide. Sections on his personal life along with testimonials from statesmen like Bill Clinton and Colin Powell flesh out the portrait, reminding readers of the commanding presence Jennings held over broadcast journalism. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

This account of the life of a longtime anchor of American evening news was culled largely from interviews conducted for a televised remembrance of Peter Jennings, which aired shortly after his death in 2005. Presented verbatim, the material comes from Jennings's colleagues, friends, and family members and is arranged into a handful of loose themes with little added information or research. As such, the work is more akin to an extended eulogy than a biography. Indeed, the editors themselves, among them Jennings's wife, Kayce Freed Jennings, make no claims that this is an exhaustive examination of the man's life. Some of the anecdotes, such as, for example, assertions that Jennings was unhappy with TV coverage of the Iraq War, would have benefited tremendously from supporting evidence. All told, this is a lively collection of stories about one of television's most successful newsmen, told by those who loved and respected him. Some stories are touching, some funny, and a handful provide insight into how his personality was a natural fit for TV news. Fans of Jennings will appreciate the effort.
—Fred Baerkircher

Kirkus Reviews
A warm tribute to the Canadian high-school dropout who anchored ABC's World News Tonight for 22 years. Based on interviews, this oral history gathers the voices of more than 60 colleagues, friends, family members and others who fondly recall the handsome and charming Jennings (1938-2005). The Toronto-born son of a noted radio broadcaster in Canada, Jennings quit school, worked in a bank and then joined an Ottawa TV station, where his newscasts caught the eye of the struggling ABC network. In 1965, at age 26, he became anchor of the network's nightly newscast, competing with stalwarts Walter Cronkite at CBS and Huntley and Brinkley at NBC. As recounted here, Jennings's ABC career was an education in both journalism and American culture that turned the pretty-boy neophyte into a first-rate reporter who worked hard to make complex issues understandable to viewers. Sent from his premature anchor post into the field, he learned his craft during 15 years as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East and elsewhere, returning as ABC's nightly anchor in 1983. Darnton (a freelance book editor), Kayce Freed Jennings (a documentary producer and Jennings's wife at the time of his death) and Sherr (an ABC News correspondent) artfully intersperse the journalist's own words with those of others, from Lauren Bacall to Rudy Giuliani to Al Sharpton, to create bright, readable vignettes of Jennings covering the Munich Olympics, presidential campaigns, 9/11 and more. Interviewees recall a sweet, down-to-earth man and a broadcaster of elegance and grace who could be a demanding perfectionist, editing and revising copy moments before going on the air and insisting on the simplest, most direct way to tell astory. Readers who watched Jennings faithfully over the years will enjoy behind-the-scenes views of this charismatic autodidact who became, in Cokie Roberts's words, "the voice of civilization" on television. Jennings not only learned to stop saying "shedule," he fell in love with America and became a citizen shortly before his death. Evocative glimpses of a sorely missed class act.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586486440
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
10/27/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
1,161,835
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Kate Darnton is a contributing editor to PublicAffairs, living in Boston, Massachusetts. Kayce Freed Jennings is executive vice president and co-founder of The Documentary Group, an independent production company. She was married to Peter Jennings from 1997 until his death in 2005. Lynn Sherr has been an award-winning correspondent with ABC News since 1977.

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