The Radio Television Digital News Foundation will honor three news leaders for their commitment to the First Amendment and excellence in journalism at the 23rd Annual First Amendment Awards Dinner on Thursday, March 14, 2013 in Washington.
The honorees are expected to make remarks at the dinner, which is attended by more than 500 people. The black-tie event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 1150 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC.
Funds raised at the dinner help support RTDNF’s work to promote excellence in electronic journalism through research, education and training for news professionals and journalism students. The foundation’s work is also supported by contributions from foundations, corporations, members of the Radio Television Digital News Association and other individuals.
RTDNF provides training programs, seminars, scholarship support and research in areas of critical concern to electronic news professionals and their audience.
About the Honorees
Robert W. Decherd
Robert Decherd is Chief Executive Officer of A. H. Belo Corporation. A. H. Belo Corporation owns and operates The Dallas Morning News, Texas' leading newspaper and winner of nine Pulitzer Prizes; the Denton Record-Chronicle; The Providence Journal, the oldest continuously-published daily newspaper in the U.S. and winner of four Pulitzer Prizes; and The Press-Enterprise, serving southern California's Inland Empire region and winner of one Pulitzer Prize. A. H. Belo's newspapers and related assets were spun off in February 2008 from Belo Corp., which Decherd led as CEO for the prior 21 years.
A. H. Belo owns and manages various websites associated with the newspapers, as well as certain niche products, direct mail and commercial printing businesses. A. H. Belo had annual revenue of approximately $462 million in 2011 and carries no debt, making it the least leveraged pure-play newspaper company in the country. The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal and The Press-Enterprise have total combined circulation of 651,019 daily and 971,490 Sunday. The total audience reach of the three newspapers is 3.8 million when the Company's online businesses are included.
Decherd has worked for A. H. Belo Corporation and Belo Corp. since his graduation cum laude from Harvard College in 1973. During his years as Belo Corp.'s CEO, the Company grew in revenue from $397 million to $1.6 billion. Net income grew from $20 million to more than $130 million. The Company's three major newspapers and 20 television stations, including six stations in the top 14 markets, have won 14 Pulitzer Prizes, 29 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, 25 George Foster Peabody Awards and 54 national Edward R. Murrow Awards, the most prestigious journalistic awards in the newspaper publishing and television businesses. The companies’ websites have been recognized as some of the leading sites supported by legacy media companies.
Aside from his corporate duties, Decherd has played a significant role in the newspaper and television broadcasting industries, and in freedom of information organizations. He has served on the boards of the Newspaper Association of America and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, which he helped found 1979, serving as its first president from 1979-82. For the next 20 years, Belo Corp. provided the majority of the FOIFT’s financial support and created a permanent endowment that now underwrites its activities on an ongoing basis. Under Decherd’s direction, Belo has also lobbied in Texas and in Washington for reporter shield laws and other press protections.
Decherd served as a member of the Presidential Commission on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters appointed by President Clinton in 1997 and the FCC Media Security and Reliability Council appointed by Chairman Michael Powell in 2002. More recently, he was one of 15 members of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy.
Decherd received the James Madison Award from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas in 1989 and the Freedom of Speech Award from the Media Institute in 1998. He was recognized as "American Newspaper Executive of the Year" in 1985 by AdWeek magazine and received the Mayborn Award for Community Leadership from the Texas Daily Newspaper Association in 1997.
Decherd has participated in Dallas civic affairs for more than three decades, with an emphasis on education and inclusiveness, and a leading role in city and urban planning issues. In 1988, he was named an Honorary Member of the Texas Society of Architects for distinguished service in Dallas over time, and received an American Institute of Architects "Citation of Honor" in 1981 for his work to establish the Dallas Arts District in Downtown Dallas. He has chaired or organized numerous civic initiatives promoting city and urban planning, including the creation of The Dallas Plan in 1991, and chaired or co-chaired three concurrent planning efforts from 2003-2005 that resulted in a comprehensive physical plan for the center city of Dallas. In 2012, Decherd received the Kessler Award from the Greater Dallas Planning Council for this work and similar planning initiatives over the prior two decades.
Decherd orchestrated a series of acquisitions that substantially changed Belo Corp.'s asset base beginning in 1981. He led Belo’s initial public offering in December 1981, and the Company's $606 million acquisition of the Corinthian Broadcast Group from The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation in 1983 was the largest television acquisition in history at the time. Belo purchased WWL-TV in New Orleans, Louisiana (1991); The Providence Journal Company (1997); and, The (Riverside) Press-Enterprise Company (1998). The $1.8 billion dollar acquisition of The Providence Journal Company solidified Belo's position as one of America's premier newsgathering and advertising sales organizations. The spin-off of A. H. Belo Corporation in 2008 was an industry-leading initiative aimed at achieving shareholder value and operational focus in a market environment that no longer supported the convergence strategy Belo Corp. and others pursued over the prior three decades.
Decherd has served on the board of directors of Kimberly-Clark Corporation since 1996, and from 2004-2008 was Kimberly-Clark's lead director and chairman of its executive committee. Previously, he was chairman of Kimberly-Clark’s audit committee. He also serves on the Advisory Council for the Center for Ethics at Harvard University and has been a member of the Graduate Council of The Harvard Crimson since 1973. As a former president of The Crimson (1972-73), Decherd has been one of that newspaper's strongest advocates and financial supporters. He currently serves on the Board of Visitors of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.
Candy Crowley is CNN's award-winning chief political correspondent and anchor of State of the Union with Candy Crowley, a political hour of newsmaker interviews and analysis of the week’s most important issues. Crowley took the reins of State of the Union in February 2010. In her role as chief political correspondent, Crowley covers a broad range of stories, including presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races and major legislative developments on Capitol Hill. In 2012, Crowley was selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates to moderate the second presidential debate between President Obama and Gov. Romney. The town hall-style debate, which took place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on Oct. 16, was the first debate moderated by a woman in two decades.
Crowley’s assignments have taken her to all 50 states and around the world. Since taking the anchor chair for State of the Union, Crowley has interviewed top newsmakers including: Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; former President George W. Bush together with his brother, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush; former Vice President Dick Cheney together with his daughter Liz Cheney; and 2012 Republican presidential candidates Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Crowley has co-anchored key primary and caucus nights throughout America’s Choice 2012 election coverage. She played a pivotal role in CNN’s America Votes 2008 Peabody Award-winning coverage, traveling to both conventions, every debate and additional stops along the campaign trail. In 2009, she earned a prestigious Gracie Allen Award for coverage of Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House. She also was part of the network’s Emmy Award-winning 2006 midterm election coverage.
She has covered the presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Howard Dean, Bob Dole, Jesse Jackson, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, among others. Since the presidential nomination of Jimmy Carter, she has covered all but one of the national political conventions. She was also granted an exclusive sit-down interview with President George W. Bush days before he left office.
Among her most vivid memories as a reporter, Crowley counts the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast; the impeachment trial of President Clinton; Election Night 2000; ceremonies marking the 40th anniversary of D-Day on the beaches of Normandy; Ronald Reagan’s trips to China, Bitburg and Bergen-Belsen; the night the United States bombed Libya; and the terrorist bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.
Crowley began her broadcast journalism career in Washington, D.C., as a newsroom assistant for Metromedia radio station WASH. She has served as an anchor for Mutual Broadcasting and as a general assignment and White House correspondent for the Associated Press, where she covered most of the Reagan era before moving on to NBC-TV to become a general assignment correspondent in NBC’s Washington bureau. She came to CNN from NBC News in 1987. Prior to her current role, Crowley served as a congressional correspondent for the network.
In 2012, Crowley delivered the commencement address at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, where she was presented with the Maharishi Award. Also in 2012, Crowley was honored with the American News Women’s Club Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 2005, Crowley was honored with the Edward R. Murrow award and the Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for excellence in journalism for her reporting on the 2004 presidential election. In 2004, Crowley won the Gracie Allen Award in the “National News Story-Series” category for “War Stories” and a National Headliner and a Cine award for CNN Presents: Fit to Kill. In 2003, Crowley won an Emmy for her work on CNN Presents Enemy Within. She won the 1999 DuPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Award for her coverage of the impeachment and trial of President Bill Clinton. She won the 2003 and 1998 Dirksen Awards for distinguished reporting on Congress from the National Press Foundation and the 1997 Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for her coverage of Bob Dole’s campaign for the presidency. She received the Associated Press Broadcasters’ Award for spot news reporting for her coverage of the Reagan campaign, as well as the AP Award for in-depth coverage of the 1980 Reagan campaign. Her reporting on more than a dozen 1992 U.S. Senate campaigns was runner-up for the Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for Outstanding Journalism. Crowley also won the Columbia University’s Armstrong Award for Freedom is My Woman, a documentary on a prison cellblock takeover.
Crowley earned a bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.
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Lloyd Siegel was named NBC News vice president for news partnerships in February 2006. He had previously served as director in the same capacity, with overall management responsibility for the division’s relationship with more than 200 owned and affiliated stations and their news directors. Siegel also serves on the board of NBC News Channel, which provides stations with broadcast and online coverage, as well as transmission facilities.
The news partnerships unit coordinates editorial and promotional support for NBC stations from Nightly News, Today, Meet the Press, Rock Center, Dateline, as well as MSNBC, NBCNews.com, CNBC, TheGrio.com, NBCLatino.com, The Weather Channel, and other NBC Universal platforms. It also provides broadcast best practices for stations and assistance in making maximum use of their affiliation with NBC News.
Siegel began his career in journalism as a copy boy for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Afterward, he worked as a reporter for WKYC in Cleveland and WRC in Washington. He also served as a field producer in the NBC News Washington bureau, during which he participated in coverage of many key Watergate events and managed the bureau’s White House trip coverage. Returning to WRC, he produced the 6 pm hour of Washington’s first two-hour early evening newscast.
In New York, Siegel served as domestic news producer for NBC Nightly News for six years under John Chancellor and Tom Brokaw. He was then appointed executive producer of news specials and ran live coverage of the Challenger disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, Tiananmen Square protests, and other breaking news events. In that position, he also produced AIDS Fear/AIDS Fact with Tom Brokaw in 1985, the first network news broadcast devoted entirely to that emerging epidemic. As political editor, Siegel managed day-to-day coverage of the 1992 presidential campaign.
Siegel is a graduate of Ohio State University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
For more than 20 years, Siegel has been an adjunct lecturer in broadcast news management at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He and David McCormick, NBC News vice president for news standards, teach a course each spring semester that began as a broadcast only discussion, but now encompasses Internet, social media, and other platforms as the industry has evolved.
Siegel lives in Manhattan with his wife, Ronnie Zeitlin-Siegel. Their daughter Jacklyn also lives in Manhattan. Both are lawyers.