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Congratulations Peter: 25 Years Hosting The National
May 2, 2013
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He's been a great friend to this program - he was on our very first show, and he's been in the red chair many times.

And now, Peter Mansbridge is celebrating a significant milestone: it was 25 years ago today that he took the reins of CBC News' flagship program, The National.

He still remembers the first time he anchored the program. In a post for CBC News, Peter writes "I was nervous. I'm sure viewers could see my heart pounding through my suit" (you can see excerpts from that first show above).

Despite the nerves, Peter says he was excited he was getting to pursue a lifelong passion: "I love the news. Always have. As a kid sitting around the dinner table with my parents, brother and sister arguing about the events of the day, to my 20 years as a reporter in the field, to the past 25 hosting the National."

So, what's changed since he started as anchor?

Well, there's a lot less money. "Today's hour has less than half the resources and less than half the people working on it than the old one did", he says. And now, he hosts the full hour (back in '88, The National was only the first 22 minutes of the 10 o'clock news, leading into The Journal with Barbara Frum).

Peter says he's proud of the program today: "Budgets aside, I feel very good about where the various ups and downs of these past 25 years have brought us."

Back in 2008, when Peter was celebrating his 20th anniversary as anchor, he sat down with George to talk about his career and the challenges of the news. In the interview, which you can watch below, he says "anchoring a program is not really that challenging. It's a pretty easy job."

We beg to differ.

As the CBC's chief correspondent, Peter has covered five prime ministers, seven U.S. presidential elections, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Tiananmen Square massacre, the end of Apartheid in South Africa, Nelson Mandela's release from prison, the death of Princess Diana, the 9/11 attacks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, tsunamis, Olympics and a lot more.

"Talk about being a witness to history," Peter writes. "I've been lucky enough to see it all, in many cases first hand, always with the most professional team of journalists I know of anywhere, at my side."

He's won 12 Gemini Awards, received eight honorary degrees from universities across the country, and was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 2008.

Oh, and as a little bonus, Peter tweeted this today:

It's video of a newscast from 1971, in which a very young (and floppy-haired) Peter reports on the concerns of people in Manitoba about the sale of land to American Hutterites.

By the way, on Thursday May 16, George is doing a public interview with Peter on the CBC Live Stage, as part of a CBC Open House at the Broadcast Centre in Toronto.

The interview runs from 12:15-1:00 pm ET and is free of charge. The Open House event runs from May 16-19, and is a chance for you to meet many of the CBC's stars.


Peter Mansbridge As You've Never Seen Him Before - Going 'Gangnam Style'

Peter Mansbridge on Politics and Public Interest

PHOTO: Peter Mansbridge on set


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