William Thomas (Tom) Osborne, journalist, author and former United Nations bureau chief for “ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings,” died October 12, 2022 at his home in Tennessee Ridge, Tennessee.
Osborne, born July 2, 1948, was a high school football athlete in Ohio and later became a theology student at Augustana University where he received his bachelor’s degree. In 1975-78, he received his master’s degree in theology from Methesco Seminary (Methodist Theological School) in Columbus Ohio. In 1976-77 he also completed a fellowship program at Durham University in the UK.
Upon his return to the United States, Tom became a member of the Paulist Fathers of California. It was there that ABC-TV Capital Cities first spotted Tom as an on-camera talent. He was already recognized as a new star who represented the Catholic Church in their television shows. Capital Cities convinced Tom to move to New York and paired him with their senior anchor Peter Jennings. Peter wanted Tom to report to the United Nations on the Desert Storm and the Gulf War.
These were heady times for Tom, who had then formed his own NYC Rat Pack with close friends: actor Christopher Reeves and comedians Robin Williams and Sandra Bernhard. The four friends toured New York clubs together and were now all enjoying great success in their careers.
Prior to all of this, in 1985-87, Tom Osborne served as US Director of the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank Foundation. He inaugurated the first annual Anne Frank Prize for Human Rights in the United States.
In 1992, Tom’s colleagues at the UN elected him president of their association of correspondents, (aka) UNCA. This means that in interviews with presidents, kings, queens, dictators and all international luminaries, Tom has been able to ask the first question at press conferences. Sometimes statesmen were surprised by his tenacity.
Tom became entrenched by the war in Bosnia and the Srebrenica genocide. His media coverage of this event received the Francisco de Miranda Medal, one of the highest honors in journalism. Years later, Tom Osborne with co-author David Kanervo published his first book, Genocide for beginners. This would become Tom’s life mission, to ensure that all genocides were exposed and not forgotten by media news cycles. He was even more determined today by the horrific events in Ukraine.
After Tom retired from the job of UN correspondent, he founded a syndicated radio show called “US World Report”, with his website usworldreport.org. The program comes from FOX affiliate WLEA 1480AM in Hornell, NY. This weekly program ran for six years in a row and can now be listened to as an archived podcast.
Soon after, Tom decided to write his second book titled, The Politics of War: My Ten-Year Journey with Peter Jennings. The book is a recap of what it is like to work in television journalism at its highest level. It’s filled with anecdotes of personal stories and behind-the-scenes ABC-TV activities. Now with his acquired agent/fiancée Linda Darby, Tom was scheduled for speaking engagements and book signing tours across the United States.
Tom Osborne, never one to let the dust settle for too long, was recently asked to write the authorized biography on the life and times of songwriter Lou Stallman. The book is about the music industry and one of its most creative talents. The period spans from the 1950s to the present day and is titled, treasure of love.
Sadly, in the end, Tom passed away a week later. But according to Tom, he said, “I think this is my best work yet!” The book will be released in 2023 via Amazon.co.uk. There’s also an original film adaptation in development inspired by Colorado screenwriter Lorne Dey. Lorne insisted that Tom Osborne was the author of this biography and now readers will be glad he did. RIP Mr. Osborne, your journey is now complete.
Please consider (instead of flowers) sending donations to Reporters Without Borders by collage or SMS, rsf.org
Arrangements entrusted to Nave Funeral Home, 931-289-4277, NefFuneralHomes.com.