Former ABC Newsman John McWethy Dies at 61

Former ABC News National Security Correspondent Felled by Injuries from Skiing Accident

Former ABC News national security correspondent John McWethy, 61, died Feb. 6 of injuries sustained in a skiing accident in Keystone, Colo., according to ABC.

John McWethy

Since retiring from ABC, McWethy had been living in Boulder, Colo.

In an online tribute, ABC News president David Westin called him "one of those very rare reporters who knew his beat better than anyone and had developed more sources than anyone and yet kept his objectivity. Jack's work made the people he covered value him, respect him and always know that he would keep them honest."

McWethy joined ABC News in 1979 from U.S. News and World Report, and he was named chief national security correspondent for ABC in 1984.

McWethy was at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and received five national Emmy Awards for his coverage.

Former ABC colleague and Boston University Professor Bob Zelnick called him a "gifted journalist."  Zelnick, who helped recruit McWethy then succeeded him on the Pentagon beat, says he helped "transform the beat from a sleepy understaffed outpost to the most competitive center for enterprise reporting in Washington. "

"John was an outstanding correspondent," said Radio-Television News Directors Association President Barbara Cochran. "He covered one of the most difficult and sensitive beats fairly but tenaciously. We were very fortunate to be able to call on his talents to lead our News and Terrorism workshops. Our sympathies go out to his family and colleagues."

At press time, there were 35 postings on the ABC Web site responding to the news of his death, including the following: "He was a class act. Right up there with Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings, Mike Wallace and Ed Bradley. Among my favorite journalists living, retired and passed on. He delivered the news -- not made it or made it up. God bless."