I woke up at 7 to discover that Peter Jennings died last night after a brief struggle against lung cancer. In the short half-hour since I heard the news, these are the things that have gone through my mind.
Peter Jennings was my first exposure to the news. I remember watching the evening news with my entire family gathered around the television. Whenever I wrote a paper for school (in the days before the Internet), I would think, "I'll bet Peter Jennings' children have a much easier time of it, since their father's like a walking encyclopedia!" His voice was so reassuring, so calming, so authoritative.
As I watched the coverage this morning I was surprised when tears sprang into my eyes. Even in my not-very-awake state I called a family friend who worked very closely with Peter at ABC News to send my condolences. My mother, who watched Peter's evening newscasts nearly every night, is on a rafting trip in Alaska right now, away from any news sources. I know she'll be saddened to hear when she returns next week.
Watching someone on the news every night, you begin to feel that they are in your living room every night. They become part of your family. So I'm feeling this family loss today.
Peter Jennings, 1938-2005 (photo from abcnews.go.com)