When Japan was hit with a devastating combination of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency in March 2011, Sawyer was the only evening news anchor to report on the aftermath live from Japan ? shining a light on the stories of those who were directly affected. In November 2010, she took ?World News? on a rare trip to China; traveling from Shanghai to Beijing, she reported on the progress the Chinese have made in the areas of education, transportation and green technologies. During the summer of 2010, when controversy over the building of an Islamic community center near Ground Zero sparked a nationwide conversation about Islam, Sawyer anchored a special primetime hour, ?Diane Sawyer Reporting: Islam Questions & Answers,? to address misconceptions about Muslims and the religion of Islam.
Sawyer kicked off her tenure at ?World News? in December 2009 by traveling to Copenhagen, where she confronted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about Iran's nuclear ambitions. In January 2010, she reported the latest installment of ?Afghanistan: Where Things Stand.? She travelled with General Stanley McChrystal as he surveyed the battlefield and sat down with Afghan President Hamid Karzai for his first interview after his highly contested reelection. From Afghanistan Sawyer traveled to Haiti to cover the aftermath of the devastating earthquake.
During the historic presidential election in 2008, Sawyer co-anchored ABC News' coverage of the political conventions, Election Night and the Inauguration. Over the course of the campaign, she conducted wide-ranging interviews with the candidates and also reported ?Portrait of a President,? two hour-long specials that revealed new insight into Barack Obama, John McCain and their families. In June 2009, along with Charles Gibson, Sawyer moderated ?Questions for the President: Prescription for America,? a conversation with President Obama about healthcare reform at the White House.
Through her distinguished documentary work, Sawyer has tackled challenging issues in primetime. In 2006, her report on the crises in the foster care system was recognized with the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. In December 2011, after a year-long investigation, she aired another startling report on the over-medication of children in the foster care system. In January 2007, Sawyer delivered an eye-opening report on poverty in America, ?Waiting on the World to Change,? which gave viewers insight into the lives of families in Camden, New Jersey ? the poorest city in America. She and her team of producers spent two years in the hills of Appalachia reporting the February 2009 special, ?A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains,? which won a Peabody Award and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. In 2011 Sawyer continued her in-depth reporting on poverty in America focusing on the American Indian population with ?A Hidden America: Children of the Plains.?
In October 2012, Sawyer documented the violence plaguing Chicago ? America's third-largest city ? in ?Hidden America: Don't Shoot I Want to Grow Up.? In addition to extensive reporting from a war-torn community, she facilitated a solutions-based discussion between members of several rival gangs to see what, if anything, can be done to reverse the alarming pattern of violence and murder in the streets.