FROM LEFT: Host Frank Bond and Gordon Peterson

Inside Media: Gordon Peterson

May 17, 2009

By Lesette R. Heath, special programs coordinator

The 1991 Gulf War. The Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The historic inauguration of Barack Obama. These events are highlights of Gordon Peterson’s storied career in broadcast journalism.

Over the years, the senior correspondent and anchor of Washington’s ABC News 7 has literally thrived off the competition.

"Competition keeps everybody sharp. The better the guy across the street is, the better I’m going to be," Peterson said.

Although rivalries — old and new — remain fierce, the economic downturn has dramatically affected the news business.

"Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs," Peterson said. "The networks used to have huge foreign bureaus, but they’ve all dried up. We’ve had cutbacks where I am. It’s a pretty tricky time for our profession."

Peterson, who produces and moderates the syndicated political roundtable "Inside Washington," said he also noticed inaccuracies surfacing, because a level of editorial expertise is no longer there.

"I was talking to an old-timey newspaper guy about the inaccuracies. They are beginning to show up in papers because a level of editors is gone," said Peterson. "You see the same thing in my line of work. I’ve seen copy where they can’t seem to distinguish between soldiers and Marines."

Overall, Peterson believes that aside from the much ado about new technologies — he has a Facebook page, but calls himself "computer illiterate" — the fundamentals of journalism remain the same.

"It’s still the same job. It requires the same skills to do the work. You have to talk to people to find out what’s going on," he said.

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