CBS News Chairman and 60 Minutes Executive Producer, Jeff Fager, to Receive RTDNA’s Paul White Award

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2012
Contact: Ryan Murphy, ryanm@rtdna.org

Fager to Be Honored at 2012 Excellence in Journalism Conference in September

WASHINGTON – The Radio Television Digital News Association has named Jeff Fager the 2012 recipient of the Paul White Award.

Fager, chairman of CBS News and executive producer for 60 Minutes, will receive RTDNA’s highest honor during the Excellence in Journalism 2012 Conference in Fort Lauderdale this September. Click here for more information about the conference.

“CBS News and its hallmark 60 Minutes maintain the legacy built by Edward R. Murrow so many years ago,” said RTDNA Chairman, Kevin Benz. “Taking the reins at CBS carries enormous expectations and Jeff Fager not only met but exceeded them. His commitment to the future of CBS while honoring its past, foretells the future of broadcast journalism as well. While RTDNA honors Fager’s contributions to journalism, we further honor his embrace of its future.”

Fager became the first chairman of CBS News in February 2011, after re-shaping its flagship broadcast, 60 Minutes, into an editorially more vibrant and news-conscious program that regularly makes Nielsen’s Top 10 and an award winner. His efforts to improve the program online have also made the 60 Minutes brand a hit on the Internet and the model of successful electronic journalism in the digital age. In his new role, Fager continues to oversee 60 Minutes, while executing his plan to transfer that success to all of the news division’s platforms, on television, radio and the Internet.

Before assuming control of 60 Minutes, Fager is credited with leading “60 Minutes II” to a slew of major awards over a short period of time as its executive producer for its first five seasons.

Under Fager, 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II garnered 33 Emmys, seven Peabodys, eight RTDNA/Edward R. Murrow Awards, five Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University batons, three Sigma Delta Chi Awards and three Investigative Reporting and Editing Awards.

“Jeff Fager is truly deserving of the Paul White award,” said RTDNF Chairman, Mark Kraham. “His passion for news has been demonstrated time and again in his leadership and direction. Past recipients of this award include quite a number of CBS News professionals such as Walter Cronkite, Don Hewitt, and Fred Friendly. Notably, the award is named for the first CBS News Director Paul White. It seems only natural that Jeff Fager be added to this “hall of fame.”

A pioneer in journalism’s crucial mission to create and grow revenue streams online, Fager cultivated 60 Minutes’ Internet presence by revamping 60Minutes.com and by initiating groundbreaking digital partnerships with Yahoo! and Comcast.  He then built 60MinutesOvertime.com, an innovative, single-sponsored website that was the first to stream web-only 60 Minutes content. Fager also guided the creation and launch of the 60 Minutes iPad app, which is now one of the most popular paid apps available.  

60 Minutes maintains an average television audience more than double that of its nearest news magazine competition, reaching an estimated 120 million unique viewers during the 2011-‘12 season, more than any other primetime non-sports program.  Thanks to Fager’s digital leadership, streaming of online 60 Minutes videos rose 53 percent, users increased by 40 percent and page views were up by 39 percent.  

“Jeff stood out in a field of outstanding nominees for RTDNA’s highest award,” said RTDNA Executive Director Mike Cavender. “At CBS News, he’s built a tremendous team, dedicated to the high standards embodied by Paul White.”  “Presenting Jeff with this award at EIJ ’12 in Fort Lauderdale in September will be a true highlight of our convention.”

About the Paul White Award

RTDNA established the Paul White Award in 1956 to honor the broadcast news pioneer who served as the first news director at CBS. The award recognizes an individual’s lifetime contribution to electronic journalism. Past Paul White recipients include Linda Ellerbee, Steve Kroft, Christiane Amanpour, Charles Gibson, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Bob Schieffer, Ted Koppel, Pauline Frederick and Edward R. Murrow.

About RTDNA

RTDNA is the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. RTDNA represents local and network news executives in broadcasting, cable and other electronic media in more than 30 countries.

About the Excellence in Journalism 2012 Conference

On September 20 - 22, 2012, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), the largest association of electronic journalists, will again join forces with the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in creating the Excellence in Journalism Conference.  This national conference in Fort Lauderdale will be more than a partnership; it will be a gathering of professional journalists with shared interest.  As a journalist, we want you to be part of it. Click here for more information about the conference.