Vargas’ reporting of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a young man whose murder gained national attention as an anti-gay crime, was credited by The New York Times in November 2004 as reinvigorating the newsmagazine format. In July 2003, she hosted “In the Shadow of Laci Peterson,” an ABC News special that examined the disappearances of several young women in northern California and why their stories failed to attract significant media attention. In November 2003, she anchored “Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci,” an hour investigating many theories raised in the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code. Her February 2001 exclusive interview with the owners of two dogs that killed a San Francisco woman was so revealing, prosecutors in the case say it was critical to winning convictions against the couple. More recently, Vargas hosted Human Footprint, a ground-breaking National Geographic special that followed the cradle to grave consumption of an average American boy and girl, which aired in April 2008.
In 2002, Vargas was the narrator of 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.” She has also been involved in ABC’s Children First Program, participating in a Children First Safety Special and in ABC’s March Against Drugs.
Other shows Vargas has previously anchored or co-anchored include World News Tonight and Good Morning America. Previously a correspondent for 20/20, Vargas joined ABC News from NBC News, where she anchored/co-anchored Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News, and The Today Show. Vargas joined NBC News in 1993 as a correspondent for the NBC newsmagazine Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric.
Prior to joining NBC News, Vargas 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/anchor for KTVN-TV, the CBS affiliate in Reno, Nev.
Vargas graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., where she began her broadcasting career as a reporter/anchor for KOMU.