This time around in our "Meet the Stars" feature, we profile "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams. His recent appearance as host of Saturday Night Live has garnered much interest, so let's take a deeper look at the man who brings us the evening news on NBC:
Brian Williams is the seventh anchor and managing editor in the history of "NBC Nightly News," which represents the largest single daily source of news in America. Recently, Williams became the most honored network evening news anchor. He received four Edward R. Murrow Awards, his fifth Emmy Award, the duPont-Columbia University Award and the industry's highest honor, the George Foster Peabody Award. Most were given for his work in New Orleans while covering Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and all were awarded to Williams in only his second year on the job.
Williams was the first and only network evening news anchor to report from New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hit and was the only network news anchor to report from the Superdome during the storm. He remained in New Orleans to report on the aftermath and destruction of Hurricane Katrina, and continues to travel back and forth to the region to cover the recovery and rebuilding efforts.
The New York Times wrote that Williams' coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath was "a defining moment as a network reporter and anchor." Vanity Fair magazine called his work "Murrow-worthy" and said that while reporting live from New Orleans, Williams "exhibited unfaltering composure, compassion and grit," and during the crisis became "a nation's anchor."
In March 2007, Williams returned to Iraq and reported from throughout the country for several days. In May 2006, Williams joined Bono, traveling to three countries in Africa - Nigeria, Mali and Ghana - to report on the major issues facing the continent, including HIV/AIDS, poverty, disease and crushing debt.
In April 2005, Brian Williams was the first of the big three network news anchors to report that Pope John Paul II had died, and the first and only evening news anchor to travel to Rome to cover the funeral. In January 2005, he traveled to Baghdad and Mosul to report on the landmark Iraqi elections. He has reported on every aspect of the war, from the battlefield to the home front. Also in 2005, Williams was the first network evening news anchor to report from Banda Aceh, Indonesia - where, in the first week following the devastating tsunami, he covered the international relief and recovery effort, while working around the clock.
Since joining NBC News in 1993, Williams has become one of the nation's foremost television journalists, covering virtually every major breaking news event and traveling extensively around the world. He is a veteran of political campaigns and elections, the Middle East, and has traveled to dozens of U.S. cities and foreign countries in the course of covering the news over more than two decades. For seven years beginning in 1996, he was anchor and managing editor of "The News with Brian Williams," a live, hour-long nightly newscast on MSNBC and then on CNBC. Williams was the anchor and managing editor of the Saturday edition of "NBC Nightly News" for six years before becoming anchor of the weekday edition.
In 1994, Williams was named NBC News Chief White House correspondent. Accompanying President Clinton aboard Air Force One, Williams circled the world several times, covering virtually every foreign and domestic trip by the President until 1996. On perhaps one of the most historic trips of the Clinton presidency, Williams was the only television news correspondent to accompany three U.S. presidents - Clinton, Bush and Carter - to Yitzhak Rabin's funeral in Israel.
While covering the 2003 war in Iraq, Williams became the first NBC News correspondent to reach Baghdad after the U.S. military invasion of the city. Just days into the war, Williams was traveling on a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter mission when the lead helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade. Williams spent three days and two nights in the Iraqi desert south of Najaf, with a mechanized armored tank platoon of the Army's Third Infantry Division providing protection. During the war, Williams traveled to seven nations throughout the Mid East during his seven-week overseas deployment.
Williams moderated the 2003 Democratic presidential candidates' debate in New York and the 2000 Republican debate in South Carolina.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, Williams was on the air for days of continuous coverage. USA Today named him Best Anchor of the marathon 2000 Presidential election night coverage. In 1997, his continuous coverage of the death of Princess Diana was watched by millions worldwide on the networks of NBC News, as were his many hours of live coverage following the crash of TWA Flight 800 and the death of John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Williams' writing has appeared in The New York Times, Time Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. GQ named him "the most interesting man in television today," and in 2001 named him "Man of the Year." The National Father's Day Committee named him "Father of the Year" in 1996.
Williams is a frequent guest on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and "The Late Show with David Letterman."
Before joining NBC News, Williams spent seven years at CBS, as a correspondent and anchor in its Television Stations Division in Philadelphia and New York, during which time he covered the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and before that worked at WTTG in Washington. He started his career at KOAM-TV in Pittsburg, Kansas.
Prior to his broadcasting career, Williams worked in the White House during the Carter administration, beginning as a White House intern. He later worked as assistant administrator of the political action committee of the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington. A native of both Elmira, N.Y. and Middletown, N.J., Williams is particularly proud of his several years of service as a volunteer firefighter in New Jersey.
Williams is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. He has lectured at Columbia University School of Journalism and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. He attended George Washington University and the Catholic University of America, both in Washington, and is the recipient of six honorary doctorate degrees. He and his wife, Jane Stoddard Williams, have two children.
You can see Brian anchor "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" Monday through Friday at 6:30 (in high definition) on WKYC.
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