Transcript for Ted Koppel, 'Nightline's' first anchor, talks show's 40th anniversary, fighting COPD
It's ABC news Nightline. It is not the celebration were planning even just a few weeks ago but is a milestone worth noting. It was forty years ago this broadcast officially became Nightline. In of the day accounting the source of a major crisis far from our shorts. Back then that Iran was ground zero tonight the threat is much closer. Much of the world held hostage by a virus that kills indiscriminately. My co worker juju Chang was fortunate to talk with the man who anchored this program solo back at his birth. For decades Ted Koppel informed in comforted this nation tonight why he's worried about the most vulnerable today. Hello Ted I am so pleased to see you looking so well and so glad you could join us tonight from your home office grow tremendously accurate screwed we were there. Well its indebtedness doubts or perhaps that you helped launch Nightline during. Another critical moment in our nation's history which was the prolonged Iran hostage crisis. Nightline began as you may recall has something called America held hostage to a thirteen to a 100 well there was a national obsession with the story very similar in a sense. To what we find no except that American lives when others directly affected. As they are now but the corona virus this is a much bigger crisis and over doesn't last as long that when was your mail or call lasted. Well over a year 444. Days. You've also dedicated nearly two decades to another mission which is fighting CO PD the ravages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Which your wife grace and has struggled with. I don't think people understand. How much of a national problems for UPD is and how relevant it is. To what's going on right now goes corona virus as most of your viewers probably know attacks the loans. And issue pre. It kills a 155000. Americans a year. And people would see who can do you are probably more vulnerable. To the corona virus than almost any other group. And so during this time of crisis how have you and grace and been practicing social distancing and keeping yourself say. Grace and has been training me in this art for a long time we have been doing oboe bumps rather than handshakes. Washing our hands constantly. And yet when you look at the wider vulnerable population. How do you calibrate that major message how do you get people to take it seriously for those who are vulnerable. Unfortunately. It I think we find the people only begin to take things like this seriously when someone in their circle. Becomes critically ill or even worse tragically dollars. We are going to see a great deal Lewis in this country over the next few. Weeks and months Waco. I mean it's it really is too serious. It's going to be to damage in. Ted so much of your legacy here at Nightline was to be a calming voice in the midst of uncertainty and this type of national crisis what would you say people who are having a hard time keeping perspective. Hmmm I would say it is time more than ever in this country to come to the realization. The report we need more than anything else is reliable. Credible journalism. The fact that so much information is being conveyed. But people who have no background in journalism whatsoever but who do have the ability. Through the Internet. To communicate. Absolute nonsense and sometimes. Damaging knows it's over the Internet. This is a time when rather than questioning the credibility of the media we need to reinforce. It's what we tried to do forty years ago when the time of crisis. And what I know you're trying to do Tuesday. While Ted that's indeed your legacy that's Nightline's legacy I'm so glad you could join us tonight. This is certainly a time when truth and science and facts matter so thanks be well. And take care of yourself and grace and zero genocide doctor thank you. Our thanks to juju and Ted.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.