By Priscilla Liguori, RTDNA News
Being a leader during the worst of times can be an impossible task, but Jeff Marks took it on with grace. Tonight, he was presented with RTDNA's John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award at Excellence in Journalism 2016.
Marks was general manager at WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia when reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were murdered during a newscast. “They believed in the mission of good journalism and they went out every day to fulfill that mission,” said Marks. “They made me proud and they still do.”
In his acceptance speech, Marks talked about how young journalists need the qualities Parker and Ward possessed: curiosity and a commitment to pursue the truth.
The Hogan Award was given to Marks for his contributions to journalism and freedom of the press. John F. Hogan founded RTDNA in 1946, and Marks met him in 1986. “I take from what John did in 1945 and 46 as an inspiration for the way we ought to behave today, which is with initiative and desire and excitement about what we do,” said Marks.
Moments later at the awards ceremony while accepting the RTDNA 2016 Paul White Award, Charlie Rose honored Marks. “You can feel his love for journalism, for story, for making a difference,” said Rose.
Marks is now Director of Talent Development at Gray Television. He was president and general manager at WDBJ-TV for more than eight years.
“What I know about Jeff Marks is what Mr. Hogan would see in him,” said Kathy Walker, Chair of RTDNA. “Someone who makes outstanding contributions to our profession. Someone who even on the darkest day, reminded us of our roles as leaders in our communities and in the community of journalists.”
Marks served as chairman of RTDNA in 1992 and was general manager of WAGT-TV in Augusta, Georgia, WLBZ-TV in Bangor, Maine, and News 12 New Jersey.
The Hogan Award was established in 1959. Past recipients include Jorge Ramos, Christopher Glenn, Don Fitzpatrick, Hugh Downs, Walter Cronkite, Terry Anderson, Rob Downey, Col. Barney Oldfield, David Sarnoff and Frank Stanton.