A familiar face to TV viewers around the country, Antonio Mora LL.M. ’81 became news anchor for ABC’s Good Morning America in January. Besides reporting the daily news from the network’s New York City studio, Mora reports from the field, covering major national and international stories, including the impeachment hearings and the school shootings in Littleton, Colorado.
After his LL.M. year at Harvard and a year as a foreign intern at Debevoise & Plimpton, Mora intended to return home to practice law in Caracas, Venezuela, where his family moved from the United States in 1968. (The Moras had left their native Havana for Miami in 1960, after Castro came into power.) “But I liked New York so much, I didn’t want to leave,” he says. Serendipitously, Debevoise invited him to stay on as an associate.
Law practice didn’t entirely suit Mora, and he decided to try to break into broadcast journalism, a career that had always attracted him. His fluency in Spanish proved advantageous, landing him a job as a sportscaster for Univision WXTV 41 and then Telemundo’s WNJU 47. Mora got into the English-speaking market with the help of an agent, becoming anchor of NBC’s overnight news, Nightside, in 1992, and then working as an anchor and reporter in Miami and Los Angeles until ABC hired him to host Good Morning America/Sunday in 1994. In 1996 he became New York correspondent for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.
Mora says he hopes his favorite stories “are compelling and have a positive effect on people.” He received an Emmy nomination for a World News piece several years ago on “Mama Hawk,” a Chicago teacher who provides clothing for her inner-city school students, sees that they get proper medical care, and takes in those who have no place to go. Another story he’s especially proud of reveals the impact on children of adults’ obsession with gambling, showing small children taking care of smaller ones in Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos, while their parents bet all night long.
Reflecting on recent developments in broadcast journalism, he notes “the birth of the legal commentator” in the past 20 years. His legal background has been a boon, says Mora, who has reported on the murder trials of O.J. Simpson, Louise Woodward, and the Menendez brothers, and on the Rodney King case.
As for shortcomings in the industry, Mora says, “The paucity of people of color in decision-making positions at networks leads to missed stories and to stories told without the proper perspective. It’s shameful. There are many well-qualified minorities for these positions.”