As an award-winning anchor and correspondent, Vargas has traveled the world covering breaking news stories, reporting in-depth investigations and conducting newsmaker interviews. She was the anchor of ABC’s television newsmagazine 20/20 and ABC News specials and she was also seen on Good Morning America. She previously was an anchor for World News Tonight.
During the historic Iraqi elections in December 2005, Vargas anchored World News Tonight from Baghdad. That same year she covered Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, anchoring from the U.S. Gulf Coast for both World News Tonight and 20/20.
Vargas has also anchored ABC News’ coverage of breaking news stories, including the deaths of President Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy, Jr. She won an Emmy in 2000 for Outstanding Instant Coverage of a News Story for anchoring live coverage of the Elian Gonzalez case.
Vargas was credited by The New York Times in November 2004 as reinvigorating the newsmagazine format with her “intellectually brave” reporting of an examination of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a young man whose murder gained national attention as an anti-gay crime. In July 2003, she hosted “In the Shadow of Laci Peterson”, a special that examined the disappearances of several young women in northern California and why their stories failed to attract significant media attention.
In 2002, Vargas was the narrator of the four-part, award-winning ABC News documentary series “ICU”, which provided a unique look at life inside one of the nation’s elite pediatric cardiology intensive care units. Vargas has anchored and reported several one-hour ABC News “Vanished” specials. Other hour-long specials include “Same-Sex Marriages,” “Surrogacy” and “It Takes a Miracle.”
Vargas was the anchor of World News Tonight Sunday and was also a frequent substitute anchor on Good Morning America.
Prior to joining ABC News, Vargas served as substitute co-anchor and news anchor for NBC News’ The TODAY Show and as a substitute anchor for the weekend editions of NBC Nightly News. Vargas came to NBC News in 1993 as a correspondent for the NBC newsmagazine Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric.
Vargas previously spent four years as a reporter and anchor for WBBM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Chicago. From 1986 to 1989, she was the lead reporter for KTVK-TV, the ABC affiliate in Phoenix. Earlier, she worked as a reporter for KTVN-TV, the CBS affiliate in Reno, Nevada.
In late 2013, Vargas left ABC News and was admitted to a residential treatment center for her struggle with alcohol addition. She returned to her post in early 2014 saying, “This isn’t what I want to be known for, but I’m really proud of what I did.” Since heading back to rehab for a second time in 2014, Vargas is currently focusing on chronicling her first year of sobriety; the memoir is scheduled be published in 2016.
Vargas graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.