Tonight, we recognize the best of the best, the more than 120 winners of the Radio Television Digital News Association’s professional and student national Edward R. Murrow Awards.
Our distinguished panel of judges selected these particular honorees from among a record number of nearly 4,500 entries. They represent the very finest of network, cable and local video, audio and digital journalism in 2017.
It would be worth noting that this great journalism was accomplished during a particularly challenging year for press freedom. In the United States in 2017, dozens of journalists across the freest nation in the world were threatened, harassed, arrested and even assaulted merely for attempting to fulfill their constitutionally-guaranteed duty to serve the public by seeking and reporting the truth.
But something very good emerged in 2017, as journalists from news organizations both large and small heeded the admonition that I and others have given, that the only antidote to attacks on journalism is more and better journalism.
All across America, and in other nations, journalists and the companies that make great journalism possible have stepped up their efforts, doubling down on high-quality investigative and explanatory journalism. They have braved hostile elected and other public officials, violent mobs, deranged individuals and other obstacles to serve their communities, their nation and the world.
That they have done so in an era that has become openly hostile to responsible journalism, as those who either don’t like, or don’t understand, the role of a free press in society have been emboldened to lash out at journalists, is both commendable and reassuring.
Tonight is about celebrating broadcast and digital journalists, not lamenting the too often antagonistic environment in which it is practiced so ably by tonight’s honorees.
So let us use this evening to celebrate. To enjoy ourselves. And most important, to honor the finest among us – those of whom Edward R. Murrow himself undoubtedly would be extraordinarily proud.
Have fun tonight. Then return to your newsrooms to continue the never-ending task of seeking and reporting the truth.
Godspeed to you all.
RTDNA Executive Director