Thursday, May 19, 2022

What Happened to Stone Phillips After Dateline? See What He’s Doing Now

While many might not know Stone Phillips by name, his work as an anchor and interviewer is well known. In the 1990s, when Americans were still reliant on nightly news broadcasts for their information, Stone Phillips worked on some of the most prominent shows, such as 20/20 and Dateline NBC. He secured some of the most difficult interviews of the time, and provided a personality that still influences how the news is delivered. However, with changing technologies, many anchors were unable to retain the relative fame they had before the Internet. So, what did Stone Phillips do after leaving Dateline?

Stone Phillips’ Education and Work at ABC

Stone Stockton Phillips was born in Texas City, Texas, in 1954. His father was a chemical engineer and veteran of World War II, and his mother was a school teacher. They raised him in Ballwin, Missouri, where he was an acolyte at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, of which they were founding members. When Phillips was in high school, he was an honor student, and the starting quarterback on his football team. These early interests would stick with Phillips, shaping his career to this day.

Phillips continued to excel after enrolling at Yale University. In 1976 he was the starting quarterback for their Bulldogs, helping to win that year’s Ivy League Football Championship. He also won Yale’s F. Gordon Brown Award, for his academic and athletic leadership skills. A member of Yale’s Scroll and Key secret society, Phillips graduated with honors in 1977, having earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

Initially after graduation, Phillips worked as a teacher at the Fulton County Juvenile Detention Center, in Atlanta, Georgia, in addition to moonlighting as a waiter. Eventually, he secured a position at WXIA-TV, the local NBC affiliate. In 1980, Phillips was hired by ABC News as an assignment editor in Washington, D.C. This was yet another impressive achievement, as Phillips had been working for WXIA-TV for less than two years. Starting in 1982, Phillips began working as an on-air correspondent for ABC. Among the most notable events he provided coverage for were the Vietnamese Exodus, Rajiv Gandhi’s campaign for Prime Minister of India, and the Lebanese War.

Stone Phillips on ABC News
Stone Phillips on ABC News

Phillips was promoted to a permanent position on the ABC news series 20/20, in addition to becoming a sports anchor for World News Sunday, and substitute host of Good Morning America. While there, he provided reports on a variety of topics, from football to international espionage, working with notable journalists Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs.

Phillips Moves to NBC, Works on Dateline

After 12 years with ABC, Phillips left to join NBC News to serve as co-anchor of their new show, Dateline NBC. Working with Jane Pauley, Phillips conducted a great number of significant interviews for the program. He interviewed Russian President Boris Yeltsin, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and conducted the first network interview with Lynndie England about her role in the now-famous Abu Ghraib prison scandal. His interview with Bernhard Goetz, who shot four teenagers in a New York City Subway train, earned Phillips an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Interview.”

For the premiere episode of The Colbert Report, in 2005, comedian Stephen Colbert brought Stone Phillips on as a guest, where Colbert credited the anchor’s “gravitas” as a inspiration for the iconic persona Colbert would develop for his show. This demonstrates how influential Stone Phillips was, not just on those who watched his show, but to other people who reported on current events.

Stone Phillips Leaves NBC – Update on What He’s Doing Now

Unfortunately, NBC choose not to renew Stone Phillips’ contract in 2007, reportedly due to budget cuts. While the reporter has since produced a few pieces for PBS, most of his efforts seem focused around his website, Stone Phillips Reports. A bare-bones website Phillips runs himself, Stone Phillips Reports currently has two self-produced pieces. The first is a report on a recent study on head injuries in youth football players. While paid for and produced by Phillips, “Hard Hits, Hard Numbers,” was also syndicated on PBS’s show NewsHour. Phillips has said that he had not planned on it being broadcast, and that he appreciated that producing content for his own website. “The great thing about the Web,” he said, “is that I can do it the way I want to do it.”

Stone Phillips has said he wants to cover additional topics, but on his own, so it looks unlikely that the anchor will be returning to a recurring position for a major syndicate.

Morgan Sennhauser
Morgan Sennhauser is a thoroughbred millennial, who has focused on working against censorship and surveillance in Africa and the Middle East. Now living in North Carolina, Morgan spends his time advocating for minority groups in impoverished regions, and writing about related topics.
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24 COMMENTS

  1. Something wasn’t right about the way he suddenly went off the air.He was (and is) an excellent journalist. Wish the REAL story would come out!

  2. I would like to know why there (at least appeared to be) a riff between Ann Curry & Stone Phillips. I was a fan of both but there did seem to be a negative tension between the two when they hosted Dateline.

  3. I just realized he was gone! I absolutely thought he was one of the best. I KNEW something was missing from 20/20 and Dateline! How could they not renew him?

  4. I am a huge fan of Dateline. I wish he would return to Dateline. I miss him a lot on this, one of my favorite programs.

  5. Something is not right with his disappearence from network TV.
    It seems that he was blacklisted,and maybe for a good reason.
    There is definitely a story behind this.

    • Mr. Tim
      I can’t find his interview w/Billy Graham. Stone was trying to prove homosexuality a sin. True but not good for job security. That interview happened and now its gone.

      • It depends. If they have carved out a niche over time they stick around (Leslie Stahl, Barbara Walters). It’s not a good age for either sex to be “discovered”. Tough business loaded with backstabbers. Like working for the Clintons!

        • Ask Stahl or Walters how much harder they had to work than almost any male coworker they’ve ever known, merely to get recognized for their abilities at all.

          The Clintons are political players; just like the ones you’ve been voting for all your adult life.

          • Oh please. Stop with that. Don’t fall for simple gender politics. I conceded it’s tough for older workers in a business that rewards younger and good looking folks. Next you’ll be pimping the specious and phony “equal pay for equal work” argument. The Clintons have four plus decades of criminal behavior to their credit and no less than 5 separate current FBI investigations led by the Obama appointed FBI director.. Next!

          • Funny you should use the word “simple” to dismiss a complex argument.

            That director has a long history of antipathy towards the Clintons, and a lot of help from conservative media to beat that smear-campaign drum for him.

            But thank you for bringing in the election to a conversation about ageism.

          • The fact remains that of all the people on the planet – Barry picked HIM to head the FBI. Antipathy to the Clintons? More like respect for trivial things like the rule of LAW. Something the Clintons have wiped their butts with for 40 years.

          • Obama chose him because he was making attempts to appoint qualified individuals who weren’t necessarily party loyalists. Turns out he needn’t have bothered.

            Keep smearing that butt of yours with conspiracy theories.

          • No conspiracy at all. Hillary got hired and was made a partner at the Rose Law Firm because of who she was MARRIED to – not because of her legal acumen. She failed the D.C. Bar Exam and barely passed the Arkansas one. The next thing she accomplishes on her own will be her first.

          • I like how you can reset someone’s entire career, just because she’s a woman you happen to dislike. I genuinely hope nobody ever did that to you.

            Also, please let me know how many more decades and millions of dollars it’ll take conservatives to actually discover something they can indict her with. Boy howdy, she must be really powerful to have evaded all that. Superhuman.

          • Superhuman no. Super corrupt, yes! She got married to her “career” in the early 70’s. Long before she became the portly pantsuit!

          • Ooh, cheap shots. What a surprise. More hatred for a female professional who also has to meet physical standards you’d never subject a male to. Way to take the high road, there.

            Please find me some evidence that’s actually enough to indict Clinton on, or admit that you just resent her because you’ve been encouraged to do so by decades of smear campaigns.

          • If you happen to see the Bill Clinton five minute TV ad for Hillary in which he introduces the commercial by saying that he wants to share some things we may not know about Hillary’s background . .

            Beware.

            A few corrections;

            Bill says: “In law school, Hillary worked on legal services for the poor.”

            The facts are: Hillary’s main extra-curricular activity in law school was helping the Black Panthers, on trial in Connecticut for torturing and killing a federal agent. She went to court every day as part of a law student monitoring committee trying to spot civil rights violations and develop grounds for appeal.

            Bill says: “Hillary spent a year after graduation working on a children’s rights project for poor kids.”

            The facts are: Hillary interned with Bob Truehaft, the head of the California Communist Party. She met Bob when he represented the Panthers and traveled all the way to San Francisco to take an internship with him.

            Bill says: “Hillary could have written her own job ticket, but she turned down all the lucrative job offers.”

            The facts are: She flunked the DC bar exam, yes, flunked, it is a matter of record, and only passed the Arkansas bar. She had no job offers in Arkansas, none, and only got hired by the University of Arkansas Law School at Fayetteville because Bill was already teaching there. She did not join the prestigious Rose Law Firm until Bill became Arkansas Attorney General and was made a partner only after he was elected Arkansas Governor.

            Bill says: “President Carter appointed Hillary to the Legal Services Board of Directors and she became its chairman.”

            The facts are: The appointment was in exchange for Bill’s support for Carter in his 1980 primary against Ted Kennedy. Hillary then became chairman in a coup in which she won a majority away from Carter’s choice to be chairman.

            Bill says: “She served on the board of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.”

            The facts are: Yes she did. But her main board activity, not mentioned by Bill, was to sit on the Wal-mart board of directors, for a substantial fee. She was silent about their labor and health care practices.

            Bill says: “Hillary didn’t succeed at getting heal th care for all Americans in 1994 but she kept working at it and helped to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that provides five million children with health insurance.”

            The facts are: Hillary had nothing to do with creating CHIP. It was included in the budget deal between Clinton and Republican Majority Leader Senator Trent Lott. The money came half from the budget deal and half from the Attorney Generals’ tobacco settlement. Hillary had nothing to do with either source of funds.

            Bill says: “Hillary was the face of America all over the world.”

            The facts are: Her visits were part of a program to get her out of town so that Bill would not appear weak by feeding stories that Hillary was running the White House. Her visits abroad were entirely touristic and symbolic and there was no substantive diplomacy on any of them.

            Bill says: “Hillary was an excellent Senator who kept fighting for children’s and women’s issues.”

            The facts are: Other than totally meaningless legislation like changing the names on courthouses and post offices, she has passed only four substantive pieces of legislation. One set up a national park in Puerto Rico . A second provided respite care for family members helping their relatives through Alzheimer’s or other conditions. And two were routine bills to aid 911 victims and responders which were sponsored by the entire NY delegation. Presently she is trying to have the US memorialize the Woodstock fiasco of 40 years ago.

            Here is what bothers me more than anything else about Hillary Clinton. She has done everything possible to weaken the President and our country (that’s you and me!) when it comes to the war on terror.

            1. She wants to close GITMO and move the combatants to the USA where they would have access to our legal system.

            2. She wants to eliminate the monitoring of suspected Al Qaeda phone calls to/from the USA .

            3. She wants to grant constitutional rights to enemy combatants captured on the battlefield.

            4. She wants to eliminate the monitoring of money transfers between suspected Al Qaeda cells and supporters in the USA.

            5. She wants to eliminate the type of interrogation tactics used by the military & CIA where coercion might be used when questioning known terrorists even though such tactics might save American lives.

            One cannot think of a single bill Hillary has introduced or a single comment she has made that would tend to strengthen our country in the War on Terror.

            But, one can think of a lot of comments she has made that weaken our country and makes it a more dangerous situation for all of us.

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