RTNDF To Honor Ifill, Wheatley and local Katrina journalists

The Radio and Television News Directors Foundation will honor PBS’s Gwen Ifill, NBC’s William Wheatley and stations located in the path of Hurricane Katrina at its 16th Annual First Amendment Awards Dinner on March 9 in Washington.

Seven station groups will receive the First Amendment Leadership Award. The award will go to the groups and to their radio and television stations in Louisiana and Mississippi in recognition of their extraordinary coverage and dedication to public service shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Those receiving the award are: Belo Corp. (WWL-TV), Clear Channel Communications (WBUV-FM, WKNN-FM, WMJY-FM, WQYZ-FM, KHEV-FM, WNOE-FM, WODT-AM, WQUE-FM and WYLD-AM/FM), Emmis Television (WVUE-TV), Entercom Communications (WWL-AM), Hearst-Argyle Television (WDSU-TV), Liberty Corporation (WLOX-TV) and Tribune Broadcasting (WGNO-TV).

Past recipients of the First Amendment Leadership Award include James Keelor, Floyd Abrams, Katharine Graham, Don Hewitt, Howard Stringer, Roone Arledge, Robert Johnson and Ted Turner.

Gwen Ifill will receive the Leonard Zeidenberg Award. Ifill, the moderator and managing editor of PBS’s Washington Week in Review and senior correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, has also worked as a congressional and political correspondent for NBC News and as a reporter at The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Past recipients of the Zeidenberg award, named for the late correspondent for Broadcasting & Cable, include Ed Bradley, Andrea Mitchell, Judy Woodruff, Sam Donaldson, Jim Lehrer and Mike Wallace.

Bill Wheatley will receive the First Amendment Service Award. Prior to retiring in June 2005, Wheatley served as executive vice president for NBC News, responsible for the network’s domestic and international newsgathering for NBC Nightly News, NBC News Specials, NBC News Radio and NBC Mobile. During his 30 years with NBC News, Wheatley was executive producer and senior producer of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.


Previous winners of the First Amendment Service Award, which goes to a person working in an off-air, management capacity, include CNN’s Wendy Walker, Entravision’s Walter Ulloa, CBS’s Susan Zirinsky and Hearst-Argyle’s Fred Young.

RTNDF provides training programs, seminars, scholarship support and research in areas of critical concern to electronic news professionals and their audience. The foundation’s work is supported by contributions from foundations, corporations, members of the Radio-Television News Directors Association and other individuals.

The First Amendment Awards Dinner will take place March 9, 2006, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington. To cover the event, contact Noreen Welle 202.467.5203 or [email protected]. To purchase tickets or sponsorships, contact Joy Braun at 202.467.5212 or [email protected].

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply