Peter Jennings: “”We Are Losing Exactly The Best Of Our Craft At The Worst Possible Time”

TVNewser has this and many, many other heartfelt quotes about Peter Jennings. This is from CNN’s Jeff Greenfield, who calls Jennings “the embodiment of what journalism should be.” Brian Williams calls him “simply one of the greats…the embodiment of the modern anchor,” and on NBC’s Today, Tom Brokaw said “Peter, of the three of us, was our prince. He seemed so timeless. He had such &#233lan and style.” Dan Rather put it more bluntly on this morning’s GMA tribute: “If Peter was in the area code, I didn’t sleep.”

Even President Bush made a statement echoing the sense of loss: “A lot of Americans relied upon Peter Jennings for their news. He became a part of the lives of a lot of our fellow citizens, and he will be missed.”

Jennings himself was an American, after becoming a citizen in 2003. He was born, however, in Canada, and began his career there before coming to the U.S. to make his mark and rise to become one of the trusted and most beloved faces in journalism (once again, I draw your attention to the outpouring on TVNewser). Canadian anchor Kevin Newman shares this memory about Peter Jennings, who presented a fellow Canadian colleague with an American flag on his final day at ABC news:

After he handed it to me he said, “take this home, treat it with respect, and remember to never take the easy road of defining your Canadian identity by denigrating this great country.” He had enormous affection for Americans, and that made him an even greater Canadian.

It’s that kind of grace and class that made him such an icon, so beloved by people on either side of the border. I can think of at least one Canadian who will remain inspired by his example.

Other stories about Peter Jennings:

Peter Jennings, Urbane News Anchor, Dies at 67 [NYT]

Peter Jennings, 67 [Globe & Mail]

ABC News Anchor was Voice of the World [WaPo]

In Memory of Peter Jennings [Canada.com]

Career Highlights of Peter Jennings [AP]

Peter Jennings: A life in pictures [Globe & Mail]

The TV Watch; Jennings Delivers His News In Character (April) [NYT]