Ted Koppel

News Anchor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Ted Koppel speaks about his family's emigration from England (where he was born) to the United States. Koppel recounts his early career in radio news in New York in the 1960s and his major assignment as a war correspondent in Vietnam. He outlines his work as a bureau chief in Miami and Hong Kong, and his appointment as ABC's Chief Diplomatic Correspondent in Washington D.C. He describes reporting during the Nixon years, including covering Henry Kissinger's "shuttle diplomacy." He recalls ABC's coverage of the Iran Hostage Crisis -- a regularly scheduled late-night report, which led directly to the creation of the landmark series ABC News Nightline. Koppel discusses his role as the anchor and managing editor of Nightline, talks of the unique format of the show, and describes several of the program's noteworthy broadcasts. Don Carleton conducted the interview on June 14, 2005 in Washington, D.C.

"One of the best definitions of journalism I've ever heard is, 'comforting the afflicted, and afflicting the comfortable.' If I've done some of that over the years, I'll be happy."

Highlights
Ted Koppel on Richard M. Nixon and his inability to handle small talk
05:34
Ted Koppel on interviewing Bill Clinton
03:09
Ted Koppel on America Held Hostage changing titles to ABC News Nightline
01:37
Ted Koppel on what made ABC News Nightline unique - bringing together people from all parts of the world to debate and discuss topics
03:46
Ted Koppel on "The Fallen" episode of ABC News Nightline during which he read the names of 721 US Serviceman killed in Iraq
04:47
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years being raised in England and Germany; on his interest in reporting; on attending Syracuse University as an undergraduate and Stanford for graduate school
05:39
On an internship at NBC and getting a job at ABC; on reporting on JFK's assassination and the Civil Rights Movement for ABC radio
11:42
On his first television appearance; on reporting from Vietnam; on the technology setup to report from Vietnam; on becoming Miami Bureau Chief and then Southeast Asian Bureau Chief
11:25

Chapter 2

On serving as ABC's Southeast Asian Bureau Chief and being in charge of the Hong Kong office; on covering the war of independence for Bangladesh
06:30
On becoming a Diplomatic Correspondent; on reporting on Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during the start of Watergate; on Kissinger's relationship with the press
13:01
On reporting on Nixon's trip to China in 1972 and witnessing staged moments for the American press
08:41

Chapter 3

On Richard M. Nixon and his inability to handle small talk; on becoming an anchor for the ABC Evening News; on taking a year off and his experience inspiring ideas for Nightline
15:29
On working for Roone Arledge and Koppel's initial doubts about Arledge's abilities; on putting together a series on the military balance between the United States and the Soviet Union; on becoming anchor of America Held Hostage, aka ABC News Nightline
08:32
On ABC's news anchors at the time; on America Held Hostage changing titles to ABC News Nightline
04:02

Chapter 4

On America Held Hostag e (which reported on the Iran Hostage Crisis) becoming ABC News Nightline contd.
13:16
On topics covered and technological innovations used on ABC News Nightline; on feedback from affiliates and guests
08:36
On how ABC News Nightline is put together
06:29

Chapter 5

On covering the Mount St. Helen's eruption, the AIDS epidemic, the Jackie Robinson tribute, the falling of the Berlin Wall, Iraq invading Kuwait, and the O.J. Simpson trial on ABC News Nightline; on "The Fallen" episode of the program during which he read the names of 721 US Serviceman killed in Iraq 
16:39
On interviewing Yassir Arafat and Bill Clinton; on where he was on 9/11
07:19
On being parodied; on media consolidation and its impact on the news; on how he'd like to be remembered; on why he's leaving the air (in 2005); on advice to aspiring journalists
06:43
Shows

ABC News Nightline

View Show Page
Ted Koppel on Richard M. Nixon's appearance on ABC News Nightline
01:55
Ted Koppel on his year off from the news spent as primary caregiver inspiring ideas for ABC News Nightline
00:28
Ted Koppel on becoming anchor of America Held Hostage, aka ABC News Nightline
06:10
Ted Koppel on America Held Hostage changing titles to ABC News Nightline
02:03
Ted Koppel on America Held Hostag e becoming ABC News Nightline contd.
13:16
Ted Koppel on topics covered, affiliate reactions, and technological innovations used on ABC News Nightline
08:36
Ted Koppel on how ABC News Nightline is put together
06:29
Ted Koppel on covering the Mount St. Helen's eruption on ABC News Nightline
00:47
Ted Koppel on covering the AIDS epidemic on ABC News Nightline
02:23
Ted Koppel on the Jackie Robinson tribute on ABC News Nightline
03:30
Ted Koppel on covering the fall of the Berlin Wall on ABC News Nightline
00:13
Ted Koppel on being the first Western journalist to reach Baghdad when Iraq invaded Kuwait 
01:25
Ted Koppel on reluctantly reporting on the O.J. Simpson trial on ABC News Nightline
02:50
Ted Koppel on "The Fallen" episode of ABC News Nightline during which he read the names of 721 US Serviceman killed in Iraq
04:47
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Ted Koppel on where he was on 9/11
02:48

Civil Rights Movement

View Topic
Ted Koppel on reporting on the Civil Rights Movement for ABC radio
04:21

Iran Hostage Crisis

View Topic
Ted Koppel on America Held Hostag e (which reported on the Iran Hostage Crisis) becoming ABC News Nightline contd.
10:46

JFK Assassination and Funeral

View Topic
Ted Koppel on reporting on JFK's assassination for ABC radio
02:21

Jimmy Carter

View Topic
Ted Koppel on America Held Hostag e (which reported on the Iran Hostage Crisis) becoming ABC News Nightline contd.
10:46

John F. Kennedy

View Topic
Ted Koppel on reporting on JFK's assassination for ABC radio
02:21

Lyndon B. Johnson

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Ted Koppel on reporting on JFK's assassination for ABC radio
02:21

Media Consolidation

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Ted Koppel on media consolidation and its impact on the news
02:14

Queen Elizabeth Coronation

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Ted Koppel on Queen Elizabeth's Coronation being the first time he saw television
01:00

Richard M. Nixon

View Topic
Ted Koppel on reporting on Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during Watergate; on Kissinger's relationship with the press
10:54
Ted Koppel on reporting on Nixon's trip to China in 1972 and witnessing staged moments for the American press
08:16
Ted Koppel on Richard M. Nixon and his inability to handle small talk
05:34

Ronald Reagan

View Topic
Ted Koppel on the end of the Iran Hostage Crisis during Reagan's presidency
00:53

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Ted Koppel on the technology setup to report from Vietnam
03:45
Ted Koppel on technological innovations used on ABC News Nightline
06:03

Television Industry

View Topic
Ted Koppel on media consolidation and its impact on the news
02:14

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Ted Koppel on reporting on JFK's assassination for ABC radio
02:21
Ted Koppel on reporting on Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during Watergate; on Kissinger's relationship with the press
10:54
Ted Koppel on reporting on Nixon's trip to China in 1972 and witnessing staged moments for the American press
08:16
Ted Koppel on Richard M. Nixon and his inability to handle small talk
05:34
Ted Koppel on America Held Hostag e (which reported on the Iran Hostage Crisis) becoming ABC News Nightline contd.
10:46
Ted Koppel on the end of the Iran Hostage Crisis during Reagan's presidency
00:53

Vietnam War

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Ted Koppel on his first television appearance in 1966 - covering the Vietnam War
11:25

War

View Topic
Ted Koppel on his first television appearance in 1966 - covering the Vietnam War
11:25
Ted Koppel on being the first Western journalist to reach Baghdad when Iraq invaded Kuwait
01:25

War on Terror

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Ted Koppel on being the first Western journalist to reach Baghdad when Iraq invaded Kuwait
01:25
Professions

Anchor

View Profession
Ted Koppel on becoming an anchor at ABC Evening News
02:45

Journalists & News Producers

View Profession
Ted Koppel on wanting to be Edward R. Murrow when he grew up
01:00
Ted Koppel on becoming an anchor at ABC Evening News
02:45
Ted Koppel on advice to aspiring journalists
00:58
Genres

News and Documentary

View Genre
Ted Koppel on reporting on JFK's assassination for ABC radio
02:21
Ted Koppel on reporting on the Civil Rights Movement for ABC radio
04:21
Ted Koppel on his first television appearance in 1966 - covering the Vietnam War
11:25
Ted Koppel on reporting on Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during Watergate; on Kissinger's relationship with the press
10:54
Ted Koppel on reporting on Nixon's trip to China in 1972
08:16
Ted Koppel on Richard M. Nixon and his inability to handle small talk
05:34
Ted Koppel on becoming an anchor at ABC Evening News
02:45
Ted Koppel on becoming anchor of America Held Hostage, aka ABC News Nightline
08:13
Ted Koppel on America Held Hostag e becoming ABC News Nightline contd. - on topics, guests, technological innovations, and how the program is put together
28:21
Ted Koppel on covering the Mount St. Helen's eruption, the AIDS epidemic, the Jackie Robinson tribute, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Iraq invading Kuwait, and the O.J. Simpson trial on ABC News Nightline; on "The Fallen" episode of the program during which he read the names of 721 US Serviceman killed in Iraq  ABC News Nightline
16:39
People

Yasser Arafat

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Ted Koppel on interviewing Yassir Arafat
01:22

Roone Arledge

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Ted Koppel on working for Roone Arledge and Koppel's initial doubts about Arledge's abilities
04:21
Ted Koppel on a cautionary tale about how networks operate
01:49
Ted Koppel on America Held Hostag e becoming ABC News Nightline contd.
06:00

Tom Bettag

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Ted Koppel on working with Tom Bettag on ABC News Nightline
02:00

David Burke

View Person Page
Ted Koppel on America Held Hostag e (which reported on the Iran Hostage Crisis) becoming ABC News Nightline contd.
03:30

Al Campanis

View Person Page
Ted Koppel on the Jackie Robinson tribute (the Al Campanis program) on ABC News Nightline
03:30

Jimmy Carter

View Person Page
Ted Koppel on America Held Hostag e (which reported on the Iran Hostage Crisis) becoming ABC News Nightline contd.
07:16

Bill Clinton

View Person Page
Ted Koppel on interviewing Bill Clinton
03:09

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Ted Koppel on America Held Hostag e (which reported on the Iran Hostage Crisis) becoming ABC News Nightline contd.
03:30

Peter Jennings

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Ted Koppel on a cautionary tale about how networks operate
01:49

Lyndon B. Johnson

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Ted Koppel on reporting on JFK's assassination for ABC radio - covering new President Lyndon B. Johnson
04:28

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Ted Koppel on reporting on the Civil Rights Movement for ABC radio
04:21

Henry Kissinger

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Ted Koppel on reporting on Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during Watergate
10:54

Edward R. Murrow

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Ted Koppel on wanting to be Edward R. Murrow when he grew up
01:00

Richard M. Nixon

View Person Page
Ted Koppel on reporting on Nixon's trip to China in 1972 and witnessing staged moments for the American press
08:16
Ted Koppel on Richard M. Nixon and his inability to handle small talk
05:34

Ronald Reagan

View Person Page
Ted Koppel on the end of the Iran Hostage Crisis during Reagan's presidency
00:53

Frank Reynolds

View Person Page
Ted Koppel on a cautionary tale about how networks operate
01:49

Bill Sheehan

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Ted Koppel on Bill Sheehan offering him two great positions at ABC and Koppel turning them both down
05:25

O. J. Simpson

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Ted Koppel on reluctantly reporting on the O.J. Simpson trial on ABC News Nightline
02:50

Barbara Walters

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Ted Koppel on a cautionary tale about how networks operate
01:49

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