The Radio Television Digital News Foundation honored the Associated Press and four journalists for their commitment to press freedoms at the 24th Annual First Amendment Awards Dinner in Washington, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
“This gathering is a wonderful opportunity to show support for the First Amendment and to provide scholarships to a new generation of journalists,” said RTDNF Executive Director Mike Cavender.
First Amendment Leadership Award: David Lougee, Gannett
Lougee is president of the broadcasting division of Gannett Co. Inc. He joined Gannett in 2007, after working as a senior executive at Belo Corp. He was a television news director in Seattle and Denver. He now serves on the NBC affiliate board and the board of the NAB.
RTDNF says it presents this award to a business or government leader who has made a significant contribution to the protection of the First Amendment and freedom of the press. The award was presented by Rob Mennie, Gannett vice president and senior news executive.
Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award: Lester Holt, NBC News
Holt is the weekend anchor of NBC Nightly News and co-anchor of the weekend edition of “Today.” He joined NBC News after working as an anchor and reporter in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.
According to RTDNF, it presents this award to a journalist or executive who has made a major contribution to the protection of First Amendment freedoms. It is named for late Broadcasting & Cable senior correspondent Leonard Zeidenberg. The award was presented by David Corvo, senior executive producer prime time for NBC News.
First Amendment Service Award: Robin Sproul, ABC News
Sproul has been vice president and Washington bureau chief for ABC News since March 1993. She joined ABC in 1981 as D.C. bureau chief for ABC News Radio. She and her teams have won multiple major awards, and she is a former trustee of RTDNF.
The award honors professionals in local or network news who work in an off-air, management capacity. It was presented by Martha Raddatz, chief global affairs correspondent, ABC News.
First Amendment Award: The Associated Press
CEO Gary Pruitt CEO accepted the award. Prior to leading AP, he was president, CEO and chairman at The McClatchy Co. He has served on the AP board and is a former chair of the Newspaper Association of America.
This award honors an individual or organization, which champions the First Amendment and press freedoms. It was presented by Tom Curley, former AP president and CEO.
RTDNF Lifetime Achievement Award: Bill Plante, CBS News
Plante has been a CBS News White House correspondent during the Reagan, Clinton, G. W. Bush and Obama administrations, and a correspondent at the State Dept. He has covered every presidential campaign since Humphrey and Nixon and has reported on major world events since joining CBS in 1964.
RTDNF presents its lifetime achievement award to those who have made outstanding contributions to journalism and press freedom. The award was presented by Susan Zirinsky, senior executive producer for CBS News.
Chris Wallace of Fox News served as the event’s master of ceremonies. The event drew a large crowd and raised thousands of dollars for the organization’s journalism scholarship and fellowship programs.