Bob Woodruff, who assumed the co-anchor duties of ABCs World News Tonight? earlier this month (with Elizabeth Vargas), was seriously injured Sunday in Iraq while following a unit of the Iraqi army expected to replace American forces at some point in the war in Iraq. A mere eight days earlier, Woodruff was in Pasadena, talking up ABC News new approach to newsgathering and its two-anchor strategy. He was both witty and wise; herewith, some of his thoughts on TV news circa 2006:
On his new role as co-anchor/reporter: Peter (Jennings) said to me when he was alive, You know, this is a difficult job because Im not able to get out and report the stories in the field the way that I love to do them and be careful for what you wish for, to some degree, because it may not be able to happen. Now, not only because of technology but because of having another anchor that can be back in New York at the seat at the time, I think youre going tot see a lot more of this, and I think youre going to see probably more people following suit. I think the viewers demand it in many ways.?
On the hierarchy of being a news anchor: I dont understand the value of being on a pedestal. . . . This is a different world just in terms of pure numbers. . . . We completely understand that (Walter Cronkites world is not) what we live in right now (where one man can direct a nations political sensibility). . . . To try to attain a pedestal . . . would be a disservice to the viewer.?
On Jennings: Sometimes you didnt get the sense that he was mentoring you. It was more of an endurance. . . . Id much rather follow in his footsteps no matter how big they are and how much pressure that creates than anybody else, and I think thats the way all of us feel about it.?
On ABC News afternoon podcast: Those of us who still feel very strongly about serious news and informing our children, especially, this is a great new opportunity for us on so many fronts. Its really good for the reporters in the field, too, to know that when they do all this work and sometimes risk their lives to do it, theres a place that an audience can find it.”
On deciding upon who Woodruff or comely co-anchor Vargas gets to cover a story: Its a mud-wrestling match.?
Obviously, he was joking then, and just as obviously, we wish things were just so that his joke would remain just as funny today. That not being the case, we wish the best for Woodruff, his cameraman Don Vogt (who was also injured) and every soldier serving Americas cause in Iraq until the conflict can be resolved.