Forrest Sawyer

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Forrest Sawyer
Born (1949-04-19) April 19, 1949 (age 71)
Lakeland, Florida, United States
EducationB.A. in Eastern Philosophy and World Religion and M.A. in Education, University of Florida
OccupationWAGA-TV news anchor (1980-1985)
CBS Morning News anchor (1985-1987)
ABC News and NBC News anchor
Years active1980–2011

Forrest Sawyer (born April 19, 1949) is an American broadcast journalist. Sawyer worked 11 years with ABC News, where he frequently anchored ABC World News Tonight and Nightline and reported for all ABC News broadcasts. He anchored the newsmagazines "Day One" and "Turning Point" He recorded stories from all over the globe, and earned awards for his reports and documentaries, including Emmy Awards in 1992, 1993, and 1994. He left ABC News in 1999 to become a news anchor for both NBC and its cable counterpart, MSNBC, where he was a regular substitute for Brian Williams as anchor for The News with Brian Williams. He left NBC News in 2005 to become founder and president of Freefall Productions, where he produces documentaries and serves as a media strategist and guest lecturer.

Early years[edit]

Sawyer was born and reared in Lakeland, Florida, where he graduated from Kathleen High School.[1] He was a member of Alpha Tau Omega at the University of Florida, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Eastern Philosophy and World Religions and a Master's degree in Education.[2]

Professional career[edit]

After starting in radio, Sawyer was invited to host a program called "World in Review" for Georgia Public Television, where world events in the news each week were looked at in depth by a panel of academic experts. The news director of Atlanta's then-CBS affiliate saw how talented Forrest Sawyer was and hired him. Forrest was still full-time at his radio job. Sawyer moved into commercial television with Atlanta's WAGA-TV, a CBS affiliate (currently a Fox owned-and-operated station) from 1980 to 1985. While at WAGA, he shared a Peabody Award in 1982, for Paradise Saved, a documentary on Cumberland Island. Sawyer, Don Smith, and photographer George Gentry were cited for a documentary in which viewers were "treated to a quality of visual beauty not often seen on television and, at the same time, were informed, enlightened, and challenged concerning the problems of retaining a great natural heritage and a diminishing resource—the unspoiled beauty of the Atlantic Coast."[3]

From August 1985 to August 1986, Sawyer and Maria Shriver were anchors of The CBS Morning News. Sawyer stayed with CBS until 1987. He joined ABC in 1988 as anchorman of ABC World News This Morning and also hosted "World News Sunday" and "Day One." He hosted Justice Files on The Discovery Channel in the early 1990s.[4][5][6] Sawyer filed the first in-depth network report on the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, was the first reporter to gain access to the KGB's files on Lee Harvey Oswald, and filed history's first live television report from a battlefield during the First Gulf War. Sawyer also served as a regular substitute anchor on the ABC News programs World News Tonight and Nightline before leaving ABC and joining NBC.[2]

In addition to his Peabody Award, he has received a total of seven National Emmy Awards, two Sigma Delta Chi Awards, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, an Associated Press Award, an Ohio State Award, an Ark Award and two American Psychological Association Awards.[2]

Sawyer played himself as moderator in "The Debate" an episode of The West Wing which aired live and was dedicated solely to a debate between two fictitious presidential candidates.[7]

He was a guest speaker at the American Association of Community Colleges Conference in Long Beach, CA, during April 2006 and was keynote speaker on May 11, 2007 at the University of California, Santa Barbara, at a conference titled, "The Future of Multi-Media Digital News and Cultural Networks."[8]

In late 2007, while filming a documentary in Tanzania, Sawyer survived a helicopter crash in which he suffered a serious knee injury before hiking miles with other survivors to safety.[9] His recent media appearances include anchoring the July 19, 2008 edition of the CBS Evening News.[10] and reporting the 2009 Frontline documentary "Ten Trillion and Counting,"[11] a journey through the politics behind the national debt.


  1. ^ "Polk Celebrities". The Ledger. 2005-03-20. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  2. ^ a b c "Forrest Sawyer: Profile". Speakers Platform. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  3. ^ "Paradise Saved". Peabody Awards. Archived from the original on 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  4. ^ HODGES, ANN. "A&E, Discovery list fall programming plans." Houston Chronicle 29 Apr. 1992, 2 STAR, HOUSTON: 6. NewsBank. Web. 9 Oct. 2015.
  5. ^ Johnson, Peter. "Norville may lead wave of CNN talk shows." USA TODAY 28 Apr. 1992, LIFE: 3D. NewsBank. Web. 9 Oct. 2015.
  6. ^ "Serial Killers." Justice Files. Exec. Prod. Rudy Bednar, Sheila Sitomer, Peter W. Kunhardt, and Dyllan McGee. Hst. Forrest Sawyer. The Discovery Channel. 10 Mar. 1993.
  7. ^ "'West Wing' Hopefuls Clash in Live Debate". Associated Press. 2005-11-07. Retrieved 2008-12-13.[dead link]
  8. ^ "The Future of Multi-Media Digital News and Cultural Networks". Center for Film, Television, & New Media at University of California, Santa Barbara. 2007-05-11. Archived from the original on 2008-03-28.
  9. ^ Huff, Richard (2007-12-12). "Forrest Sawyer: I almost died in crash". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  10. ^ Baker, Brent (2008-07-21). "Day 1 of Obama's Magical Media Tour: All Air Outside the Paint!". CyberAlert. Media Research Center. Archived from the original on 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  11. ^ [1]

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