April 18, 2004 by

Jack Smith


Categories: Media, Military, Writers/Editors

jsmith.jpgJack Prescott Smith was an Army veteran who became an Emmy Award-winning journalist.
The son of the late ABC News anchor Howard K. Smith, Jack attended the Georgia Institute of Technology for a short time, then enlisted in the Army to make something of himself. Serving with the 7th Cavalry in Vietnam, he earned a Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart. When he returned to the U.S., his father interviewed him for a program called “A Father, a Son and War.”
Smith earned a history degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s degree from Oxford. He joined ABC News as an intern in the 1970s, landed an assignment as the network’s Paris correspondent and covered the invasion of Cambodia. In 1980, he transferred to the Washington bureau, where he contributed stories to “World News Tonight” and “Nightline.”
Smith spent nine years as a principal correspondent for “This Week With David Brinkley,” and covered both the White House and the State Department for “Good Morning America.” In the 1990s, he tracked the ups and downs of Silicon Valley for the “Cutting Edge” segment of “World News Tonight With Peter Jennings.”
During his 26-year broadcast journalism career, Smith won two Emmys and a Peabody Award. He hosted “Biography” on A&E and narrated The Learning Channel’s award-winning documentary, “Vietnam: The Soldiers’ Story,” which incorporated his own experiences in the war. In 2000, Smith moved to California to launch the Jack Smith Media Group, a consulting business that teaches clients how to prepare for television appearances.
Smith died on April 7 from pancreatic cancer and a stroke. He was 58.

3 Responses to Jack Smith

  1. jim

    I saw his story on the war and his firefight with the enemy. Jeez , what a symbol of bravery. I mean , I am so sad to hear this and , at the same time , angry that our politicians all chose some excuse not to enter the war. I will miss this man trully.

  2. Jack Curry

    I met Jack at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, IL in I believe 2001. He was the speaker that year for Memorial Day. We briefly compared notes on our return trips to Vietnam. I went back in 1997 with the Society of the First Infantry Division tour. For years I watched him on ABC and always “stayed glued” to the TV for any report he was giving for I knew he was “one of us”=A Nam Vet. May he rest in peace in “Fiddlers Green” Jack Curry,US56585543/Graves Registration of 1ID/67-68

  3. fran froelich

    When I realized Jack’s background, including being the son of an influential journalist who was one of our favorites, I thought it took a lot of guts to enlist, just like anyone. In a time when anyone with money, education, or influence was buying their way out, Jack Smith could’ve done the same, using all the strings his dad could’ve pulled.
    I remember father and son appearing on tv in 1983, the tenth anniversary of the cease fire. Shut your eyes and you couldn’t tell them apart. And I shut my eyes and thought that intellectually, he could’ve been my husband’s long-lost bro. My husband, too, had served in Viet Nam, several years later. He, too, had had a poli sci degree (from Temple, in Philly). And he was a hawk on Viet Nam for exactly the reasons Jack was, that of geo-politics. I kidded my husband that he must’ve written the script!
    He certainly did represent Viet Nam veterans intelligently and well. He (and my husband)helped give lie to the idea that those who enlisted in the war were losers with no other life choices.
    It’s clear the Smith family, as an ABC colleague put it, bred thoroughbreds and gentlemen.

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