10 Questions for Diane Sawyer

The ABC World News anchor reflects on her decades as a journalist. Diane Sawyer will now take your questions

  • Share
  • Read Later
Larsen & Talbert/Icon

News Anchor Diane Sawyer

How do journalists refrain from showing emotion while covering overwhelming events?Denise Johnsen, Kaysville, Utah
I don't think we do refrain. I think you can see it in our eyes, but we also know they are the story. We are not the story. Our feelings are not the story.

Were you worried that sticking with President Nixon during his resignation might hurt your career?Francis Bova III, Chicago
I didn't even think of it. No kidding. Not a minute. I guess my reflexes had been trained by my father. You don't get to be there for the good times and walk away when the times get bad.

Do you regret not having children? When you were younger, was it ever a choice between career and family?Jeana Lagasca, St. Johns, Fla.
I've always thought that was a curious idea — that if you have more time, then you decide to have children. That's not the way it happens. I have stepchildren, and I have — what do the Quakers say? — a basket filled with children whom I adore. I wish I'd met my husband earlier [though]. That would've been great.

Your husband, Mike Nichols, should make a movie about you and cast Meryl Streep. What do you think about that idea?Syed Qadeer, Chicago
Once, I was in a department store, and all these people gathered around me and told me they loved me in Out of Africa. She can have it. It's hers if she wants it.

What stories have you covered that still resonate?Hollie Jankewicz, Torrington, Wyo.
The miners in West Virginia. I've covered them before, and I know a lot about that region because that's where my ancestors came through. I am deeply moved by the choice to work three miles [4.8 km] inside a mine [to support your family]. Before that, Haiti. I still have this image in my mind of people who had to get back to work. They had to make a living, and they had to get there by stepping over the bodies of neighbors, of friends.

What has been your most difficult interview so far?Rome Ibera, Dumont, N.J.
Admiral Hyman Rickover. He was in his 80s at the time. He's the father of the nuclear Navy, and he famously tried to destabilize you when you were in his presence. I introduced [the segment] by saying how brilliant he was, and he said, "It's not that I'm so smart. It's that you're so dumb." And that's how we began.

Since you moved from Good Morning America to the anchor chair, your tone and style have become more aggressive, negative and edgy. Why is that?Bob Gordon, Dallas
I don't think [they have]. There's a difference in the material we're dealing with in the evening than in the morning. Negative? No. But if it's seen that way, I hope it's seen as purposeful. We do believe that our job is to keep digging until we get an answer.

What kind of stories make you think, This is why I love being a journalist?Bhusan Kafle, Boston
I feel that way every day. Is that obnoxious? I get to go to work and come home with something interesting or enriching or astonishing. I'm sure it sounds irredeemably optimistic, but it's true.

What is the weirdest thing you ever had to do for a story?
Karina Ramirez, Dallas
I made my way into the Russian White House in the middle of a coup attempt when [Boris] Yeltsin was President. No one was being allowed in the building. I went up, and the guard said women would not be allowed in the building. And I said, "I'm not a woman. I'm an American journalist." There was a momentary perplexed look on his face, and he said, "O.K." It worked. Sometimes a non sequitur is as good as strategy.

If you weren't a journalist today, what would you be doing?Alicia Tan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I would probably be auditioning for some sad-song piano bar, since I have a very bizarre and eccentric attachment to really sad songs. Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits are a little too happy and sunny for me.