ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Lessons Learned in Loss
by Brian North
8/10/05

The news of Peter Jennings' death shocked most in America. The 67-year-old looked decades younger than his age, and his booming voice with the touch of a British accent acquired from his youth in Canada seemed like it would go on forever. But lung cancer took the life of Jennings over the weekend, and we lost more than just a public figure who appeared on our TV's every night at 6:30.

News and sports anchors are viewed by the public as talking heads; people with a forum for a few minutes a day to try to explain the world's events. Some anchors only read what's in front of them, doing little research, and understanding less. If you have watched any of the life tributes to Jennings over the last few days, you realize how involved he was. He never let a story air that he wasn't fully educated on.

Jennings was blessed with charisma and good looks, but also blessed with a determination and work ethic to get the story, and get it done right. Jennings traveled the world and put his life on the line to get the "real" story. He was in Munich, Germany in 1972 when terrorists struck at the Olympics. His preparation on such world affairs helped him identify the group responsible before the authorities could.

It's a life lesson for many to learn from. Peter Jennings had God-given talents, but he didn't waste them. He used his passion and work ethic to make it to the top of the business, stay there, and revolutionize the industry. He was the rock people watched during 9/11, he helped usher in Y2K, and helped explain every election. But he never became bigger than the story.

Jennings left a legacy that even sports fans will remember and miss.  Class, dignity, hard work. Everyone should aspire to have those qualities and emulate the life of Jennings. Emulate everything except the smoking that helped end his life prematurely.

Brian North
bnorth@wcti12.com