Winner 2001

ABC News Coverage of September 11, 2001

ABC News, New York

On September 11, 2001, the news organizations of the American Broadcasting Company—individuals and special units—exhibited the finest aspects of broadcast journalism. Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson displayed an extraordinarily professional demeanor to the viewers of Good Morning America, even as the enormity of events unfolded before our eyes. Peter Jennings, first of the prime-time anchors to reach his desk, guided viewers throughout the day, bridging reports from the field, from research units, and from government resource agencies. Brian Ross and John Miller provided a continuing stream of background information. From the Pentagon, John McWethy brought coverage of events in Washington. In the days that followed, newsmagazine programs continued to contextualize the tragedy, informing viewers of the history of violent action, complicated ethnic relationships, and deep cultural conflicts rooted in religion and politics. Correspondent David Wright and Producer Bruno Roeber reported from Afghanistan from before the beginning of U.S. bombing to the fall of Kabul. Ted Koppel and the Nightline organization described and analyzed the place of Afghanistan in the Cold War. In an ABC News Special Report Peter Jennings explored complicated geopolitics in a clear and concise manner. And Diane Sawyer presented a sensitive and moving interview with widows of two of the heroes of United Airlines Flight 93. In every instance these reports and specials were presented without sensationalism. They were constructed on a basis of solid research. They were produced quickly, but with careful attention to detail. They maintained a commitment to clarity, accuracy, and completeness. For this demonstration of the true significance of the broadcast news media in our society, ABC News receives a George Foster Peabody Award.