How do you take 1200 people from dozens of different backgrounds and meld them into a single, successful network? That was the question as FOX News Channel prepared to go on the air Oct. 6. Just getting started seemed like too much to ask. There was chaos in the control room every minute. Who was in charge? On whose experience would we rely?

But we persisted. Fair and balanced coverage, we found, attracted an immediate and enthusiastic audience.

Election night, just one month later, was a circus, and not just a political one. We came out of it with the same president, but a new awareness. FOX News Channel was for real. We held our own against more established competition, and realized that while we were still green, we weren't inferior.

Apart from the election, the two stories that stand out were tragedies, the senseless deaths of innocents.

In November, Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson (not the last young man of that surname to kill his child) found themselves pregnant and decided infanticide was an acceptable solution. What kind of people would commit such an abomination? Normal, middle class ones, it turns out.

The murder of JonBenet Ramsey remains unsolved, despite a recent errant diversion. But no one — least of all we — thought the Christmas killing in Colorado would become a national obsession, and the model for murder mysteries.

Twin themes — selection and slaughter — in 1996. We were on the way.

John Moody serves as the Senior Vice President, News Editorial for FOX News. He is responsible for both the design and editorial direction of FOX News Channel and oversees all story content for FOX News.

John Moody is Executive Vice President, Executive Editor for Fox News. A former Vatican correspondent and Rome bureau chief for Time magazine, he is the author of four books, including "Pope John Paul II : Biography."