Peter Jennings, Journalism and September 11th

A while back, I read a wonderful essay on Peter Jennings, his summer home in small-town Quebec and some advice he gave a budding journalist. I’ve excerpted Gary Dimmock before, and I’ll probably do it again. This is from The Peter Jennings School of Journalism, and seemed appropriate today:

Peter Jennings. It seemed as though he never left the newsroom for Sept. 11. He was always on the television with more breaking news, more exclusive interviews. His summer in the Hills had come to end, and he was now, it seemed, staying awake for every single moment of the biggest story of my generation.

I rode around Lower Manhattan on a bicycle gathering stories I will never face again. I walked into an old armory where all the victims’ families had gathered. As I walked by the U.S. guards and police outside, I noticed that an ABC camera crew, like every other camera crew, was told they couldn’t go in.

Inside, I sat with the families and listened to all of their stories. It was like being in a room with every single family from all the bad stories I’d ever reported on in the past 10 years, only all at once. Peter Jennings’ crew never did get inside and after I filed, I went back to Desmond’s Tavern and watched Peter Jennings. He looked tired and we joked that he must sleep in his newsroom.

Read the whole thing.

Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.