RTDNF announces 2016 First Amendment Award honorees

December 3, 2015 11:00

RTDNF has announced the recipients of its 2016 First Amendment Awards.

First Amendment Award: Jason Rezaian, Washington Post
Washington Post Correspondent Jason Rezaian has been held captive in Iran since July 22, 2014. Accused of a number of charges including espionage, he has been convicted and sentenced by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, but no specific sentence has been announced, leaving no indication of how long his incarceration will continue. The Washington Post and the U.S. State Department have worked tirelessly to secure his release, as the world watches a story of international relations and press freedom unfold.
This award honors an outstanding individual or organization which champions the First Amendment and press freedoms.

Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award: Cami McCormick, CBS News
CBS News radio journalist Cami McCormick covers the State Department and the Pentagon, and has reported from battlegrounds in the far corners of the world. She was severely wounded in Afghanistan in 2009 when the vehicle in which she was riding as an embedded reporter was hit by an improvised explosive device. She has since returned to war zones, reporting from the field, including Afghanistan and Iraq.
RTDNF presents this award annually to a radio or television journalist or news executive who has made a major contribution to the protection of First Amendment freedoms. It is named for the late Broadcasting & Cable senior correspondent, Leonard Zeidenberg.

First Amendment Service Award: Robert Garcia, National Public Radio
Robert Garcia is Executive Producer of Newscasts at National Public Radio. His distinguished career includes management positions at ABC, CBS and CNN. He is a former chairman of RTDNA and RTDNF and served on the board of directors of the Student Press Law Center, which protects the First Amendment rights of student journalists.
This award honors professionals in local or network news who work in an off-air, management, largely behind-the-scenes capacity.

First Amendment Leadership Award: Rich Boehne, E.W. Scripps Company
Rich Boehne is chairman, president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company. He is a former newspaper reporter who rose to the top of one of America’s most entrepreneurial journalism enterprises by championing a mission-focused culture and committing the company’s resources to supporting diverse voices and battling for open records in local media markets across the nation. He’s been in a variety of roles at Scripps for nearly 30 years and serves on the board of directors of The Associated Press.
RTDNF presents this award annually to a business or government leader who has made a significant contribution to the protection of the First Amendment and freedom of the press.

First Amendment Defender Award: Tim Tai, University of Missouri
While covering student protests at the University of Missouri in the fall of 2015, overnight Tim Tai became one of the most visible journalists in America. As seen in a viral video, Tai was confronted by university students, faculty and staff, threatening him with violence if he did not abandon his efforts to cover the protests. Instead, he stood his ground and patiently asserted his First Amendment right to stand in a public place and report on the events around him.
The newly-created First Amendment Defender Award is presented to an individual or organization who takes a public stand in support of press freedom.

RTDNF Lifetime Achievement Award: Tom Brokaw, NBC News

RTDNF will honor longtime NBC News anchor and correspondent Tom Brokaw with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In a career at the network spanning more than 40 years, Brokaw has been the recipient of multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards, and was the 2002 recipient of RTDNA's Paul White Award.

“Supporting and defending the First Amendment requires bravery, integrity and perseverance," said Amy Tardif, Chair of RTDNF. "Our honorees have demonstrated their commitment to press freedom, and their words and actions inspire us to follow their lead."

"Our Foundation is proud to recognize such distinguished champions of a free press,” added Mike Cavender, RTDNF Executive Director. “We honor their work and their dedication to preserve a cornerstone of our democracy."

The awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Grand Hyatt, 1000 H Street NW in Washington, DC on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The event will also honor Virginia journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward, who were murdered on the job in August of 2015. Details about the RTDNF First Amendment Awards and a link to purchase tickets can be found on our event page.