Correspondent, 48 Hours Mystery
By David Kohn
(CBS) Peter Van Sant first joined CBS News in 1984. He was based in Atlanta for six years, where he was a correspondent for the CBS Evening News, covering the south, the space program, and specializing on the aviation industry. Van Sant’s investigative report on the high number of medical helicopter crashes earned him his first Emmy Award in 1986.
Van Sant was next assigned to the London bureau (1989-91). He reported extensively on the collapse of the Soviet Union, for which he received a Columbia University – Alfred I. duPont Award. Van Sant also covered the first Gulf War, the reunification of Germany, famine in Africa, and a variety of other stories that took him throughout Europe and the Middle East.
He then moved to New York, where he reported for the CBS News magazines Street Stories (1991-93) and America Tonight (1994). Van Sant was next assigned to the CBS Evening News (1995-97), where he received an Emmy Award for his report on the economic and social collapse in Albania. Van Sant also contributed to three primetime specials, “Smithsonian Fantastic Journey,” which included reports on a study of lions in Africa that scientists hoped would lead to a cure for AIDS, efforts to save cheetahs in Namibia, and the plague of brown tree snakes in Guam.
Van Sant was then named a correspondent for Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel (1997-98). He was the first television journalist to report on the devastating famine in North Korea, winning his third Emmy Award. His report on rape in the Balkans, resulted in an American Women in Radio and Television Award. Van Sant was also part of a CBS News undercover investigative team which found and taped an indicted war criminal in Bosnia. He won an Overseas Press Club Award for that report.
Van Sant was named a correspondent for 48 Hours in December 1998. His hour-long report on terrorists seizing and destroying a school in Beslan, Russia, won him both his fourth Emmy Award and the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award. The Beslan report also won The Golden Word Award, the most prestigious award presented in Russia.
Van Sant’s report on the worldwide trafficking of human beings won a Sigma Delta Chi Award in 2005. He has also won an Overseas Press Club Award for an investigative report on the sale of human organs in Peru. He has also won three Edward R. Murrow Awards for other reports on 48 Hours. Van Sant reported on 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Virginia Tech shootings. He has interviewed a host of celebrities over the years, including Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Garth Brooks, Nick Nolte, LeAnn Womack, and Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks of the country duo Brooks and Dunn.
In 2006, Van Sant was a producer/writer for the documentary, “Three Days in September,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. The film, narrated by Julia Roberts, was nominated for an Emmy Award and was named one of the top documentaries of 2006 by New York magazine.
Van Sant is also co-author of the book, “Perfectly Executed,” which is part of the 48 Hours Mystery true crime book series published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books.
Before joining CBS News, Van Sant was a reporter for WFAA-TV in Dallas (1982-84). He worked as a weekend anchor and reporter at KOOL T-V in Phoenix (1978-82) and as a reporter for KETV in Omaha (1977-78) and KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids (1976-77). Van Sant began his television broadcast journalism career in 1975 at KMVT-TV in Twin Falls, Idaho. His first broadcast news experience came at KAPY radio in Port Angeles, Washington. Van Sant has won numerous awards in local news.
He is a native of Seattle. He was graduated cum laude with a degree in communications from Washington State University in Pullman.