Remembering Peter Jennings

Peter Jennings.jpgYesterday was the memorial service for Peter Jennings, held at Carnegie hall and overflowing with a who’s who of journalism, taking the morning off to pay respects to a giant of the industry.

There’s lots of good coverage of the event which clearly had humor, warmth, and gravitas — much like the man himself — and, as usual, you can find the best of it at TVNewser, who attended the event — it is directly and faithfully rendered; I must confess I choked up at a few points. Here are some highlights:

  • Attendees included Dan Rather, Michael Eisner, Jon Stewart, Tom Wolfe, Kurt Vonnegut, Larry King, Bill O’Reilly, Rick Kaplan, Al Sharpton, George Stephanopoulos, Brian Williams, Mike Wallace, Charlie Gibson, Roger Ailes, Rudolph Guiliani, Judy Woodruff, Bob Schieffer, Walter Cronkite, AP prez Tom Curley, Barry Diller, Brit Hume, Connie Chung and CBS News prez Andrew Heyward.
  • Ted Koppel, Alan Alda, Bob Iger, Charles Glass, ABC World News Tonight senior broadcast producer Tom Nagorski, Coalition for the Homeless president Mary Brosnahan Sullivan, and ABC News president David Westin were among the speakers.
  • Performers included Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss, Wynton Marsalis and Canadian fiddler Natalie MacMaster.
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police provided an honor guard, which is a nice touch, I think.
  • On the back of the program, another Canadian touch: A quote from Jennings, “I hate dirty hockey.”
  • Ted Koppel: “Peter was famously, even notoriously, attracted to women. Even so, he only married four of them.” Koppel said that he’d always gotten a thrill from Peter’s charisma. They had been friends for 41 years.
  • David Westin: “Peter was a true anchor in every sense of the word.”
  • Former ABC foreign correspondent Charles Glass: “He lived for excellence, as a friend, as a father, as a journalist, as a man… He lived his life, his adult life, as the voice and the face of a television network, but more importantly, he was its conscience.”
  • Tom Nagorski on ‘What Would Peter Do?’: Back in April when Jennings was first diagnosed, Nagorski’s daughter wrote him a get-well card. What would Peter do, Nagorski asks? “He would always find the time to write a note like this,” and then read from Peter’s response to his daughter: “That was a wonderful, wonderful letter,” Peter wrote. “The colors really cheered me up… Whenever an adult is sick, there is nothing better than a person’s kindness to make them feel better.” Nagorski choked up while reading this. No wonder.
  • Peter’s son Chris and daughter Elizabeth also spoke: “There is no way to express how much I miss my father,” said Chris. “Each day is, above all else, a day without him.” Elizabeth’s voice shook as she read a poem. So sad.

Howard Kurtz [WaPo]
Brian Williams [Daily Nightly]
Peter Jennings Remembered [ABC]
Media Remember a Colleague [The Globe & Mail]