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Diane Sawyer

The Womens Conference

How She Empowers Others

Diane Sawyer is anchor of ABC’s flagship broadcast “World News.” She is also the network’s principal anchor for breaking news, election coverage, and special events.

Ms. Sawyer is one of the most respected journalists in the world. She has traveled the globe delivering in-depth and breaking news reports and has conducted interviews with almost every major newsmaker of our time. Her primetime documentaries have won critical acclaim for shedding light on difficult and previously under-reported topics.

During the historic 2008 presidential election, Ms. Sawyer co-anchored ABC News’ coverage of the political conventions, Election Night, and the Inauguration. Over the course of the campaign, she conducted wide-ranging interviews with the candidates and also reported “Portrait of a President,” two hour-long specials that revealed new insight into Barack Obama, John McCain and their families.

In June 2009, along with Charles Gibson, Ms. Sawyer moderated “Questions for the President: Prescription for America,” a conversation with President Obama about healthcare reform at the White House. 

Through her distinguished documentary work, Ms. Sawyer has tackled challenging issues in primetime. In 2006, her report on the crises in the foster care system was recognized with the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. In January 2007, Ms. Sawyer delivered an eye-opening report on poverty in America, “Waiting on the World to Change,” which gave viewers insight into the lives of families in Camden, New Jersey – the poorest city in America. Ms. Sawyer and her team of producers spent two years in the hills of Appalachia reporting the February 2009 special “A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains.”

Ms. Sawyer’s other primetime documentaries include: an investigation into the warehousing of Russian children in state-run orphanages; a diary of life inside a woman’s maximum security prison where she spent two days and nights with inmates; an investigation into the neglect and abuse at state-run institutions for the mentally retarded; and a landmark investigation into pharmacy prescription errors.

In October 2006, Ms. Sawyer traveled to North Korea and brought viewers an unprecedented look inside that secretive country. The first American journalist to ever report live from North Korea, Ms. Sawyer also anchored “North Korea: Inside The Shadows,” an hour-long primetime special that included interviews with key government and military officials and new information on what life is like for North Koreans.

In February of 2007, Ms. Sawyer traveled to Syria and Iran, where she had conducted exclusive interviews with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In April 2008, Ms. Sawyer anchored “Good Morning America” from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

Ms. Sawyer also reported from Southeast Asia in the wake of the deadly 2005 tsunami; from Moscow, where she made her way into the office of Boris Yeltsin at the pinnacle of the Soviet coup; from Egypt during the Gulf War, where she interviewed President Hosni Mubarak; and Amman, Jordan, where she interviewed King Hussein and Queen Noor. During the Iraq War, she conducted an exclusive interview with one of the main architects of Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program, Dr. Rihab Taha, nicknamed “Dr. Germ.”

Domestically, Ms. Sawyer reported from New Orleans on the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005. She also conducted a live, exclusive interview with President George W. Bush in the midst of widespread criticism of his Administration’s handling of the storm.

On September 11, 2001, Ms. Sawyer, along with Charles Gibson, began the network’s award-winning coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In the days that followed, Ms. Sawyer reported live from Ground Zero and later interviewed more than 60 widows who gave birth after the World Trade Center disaster.

Ms. Sawyer’s reporting has been recognized with numerous awards including duPonts,  Emmys, Peabodys, the grand prize of the premier Investigative Reporters and Editors Association, an IRTS Lifetime Achievement Award, and the USC Distinguished Achievement in Journalism Award. In 1997, she was inducted into the Television Academy of Hall of Fame.

Ms. Sawyer joined ABC News in February 1989 as co-anchor of “Primetime.” In addition to that role, she was named co-anchor of “Good Morning America” in January 1999 and held the post until taking over the “World News” anchor chair in December 2009. In August 2009, “GMA” was recognized with its third consecutive Emmy Award for Outstanding Morning program.

Prior to joining ABC News, Ms. Sawyer spent nine years at CBS News. There she made history as the first female correspondent of “60 Minutes.” She also co-anchored the “CBS Morning News” and was CBS News’ State Department correspondent. While at CBS, Ms. Sawyer covered the 1980, ’84 and ’88 national conventions as a floor and then podium correspondent.

Ms. Sawyer was part of the Nixon-Ford transition team from 1974 to 1975 and assisted former President Nixon in the writing of his memoirs in 1974 and 1975. She began her career in broadcasting in 1967 in Louisville, Kentucky, where she was a reporter for WLKY-TV until 1970.

A native of Glasgow, Kentucky, and raised in Louisville, Ms. Sawyer received a B.A. from Wellesley College and completed a semester of law school before embarking on a career in broadcasting.

Learn more at World News with Diane Sawyer