Newsman David Muir '95 Gives a Voice

David Muir ’95 fulfills a dream and offers one in return.

If David Muir looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen him on TV. The anchor of ABC’s World News Saturday and coanchor of Primetime has also reported for World News with Charles Gibson, Nightline, 20/20, and Good Morning America.

Muir was the 2007 speaker in the Park School’s Jessica Savitch Distinguished Journalism Lecture Series which honors the memory of Jessica Savitch ’68, who became an Emmy Award–winning NBC News anchor and correspondent. Muir’s speech, “Witness to War and Disaster: From Hurricane Katrina to War in the Middle East, Giving Victims a Voice,” focused on his experience as a lead correspondent reporting on stories from the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina to the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war to the Amish schoolhouse shootings in Pennsylvania to the catastrophic 2007 Peruvian earthquake.

After his IC visit, the multiple award-winning journalist chose to use his honorarium and matching money from ABC’s parent Walt Disney Company to create an endowed fund to help Park students studying abroad. While an IC student, Muir had spent a semester in Spain at the University of Salamanca. “It was an extraordinary opportunity to see the world from a different perspective,” he says, “which I believe is invaluable for any young journalist who will one day draw from experience to shape his or her reporting.”

Muir says he was fortunate to earn a spot as a freshman on the ICTV news team. “I was willing to do anything to work for the evening newscast,” he says. “I auditioned, recognizing that there was little chance of landing a slot. A week later when the results were posted, my name wasn’t listed under writers or producers or reporters. As expected, I had been passed over. Then someone said, ‘Who is David Muir?’ and I realized I’d been given one of the anchor slots. It was an extraordinary opportunity to get hands-on experience in making a newcast. I was honored that the television-radio seniors were so willing to take a chance on this fresh-faced kid who had just arrived.”

Being the Jessica Savitch lecturer was an honor and the culmination of a dream for Muir. “I remember sitting in the front row of the auditorium during my time as a journalism major, listening to speakers from the various networks,” Muir says. “I would hang on their every word in hopes that I would one day join their ranks. One of the speakers was Carole Simpson, former anchor of World News Saturday, the job I hold today.”

The David Muir ’95 Journalism Award for Overseas Study is the journalist’s way of supporting the institution that played such an important role in his success. “I am so appreciative of the help I’ve received,” he says, “from age 13, when the anchors and reporters reached out to me at the Syracuse station during my summer internships, and at Ithaca, when those senior television-radio upperclassmen saw something in me. I’ll always be indebted to the professors from the then-budding journalism program who were so accessible and encouraging. For me, this is an opportunity to give back.”

Muir is a multiple award-winning correspondent and anchor.