2020 RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Awards Celebration

RTDNF announces 2019 First Amendment Awards host

February 7, 2019 11:00

On March 13, 2019, ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas will host the 29th annual Radio Television Digital News Foundation recognition of First Amendment champions –

“It’s incredibly humbling and an honor to host the prestigious 2019 First Amendment Awards, especially at this moment. Celebrating the best in journalism at a time when the stories are so consequential, and where journalists have literally lost their lives exercising their First Amendment rights is so important. It will truly be a night to celebrate and reflect.” - Pierre Thomas, ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent and 2019 RTDNF First Amendment Awards host

Thomas joined the network in November 2000 and reports for “World News Tonight with David Muir,” “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” and other ABC News programs.
Thomas was a key member of ABC’s team of correspondents covering the terrorist attacks of September 11th, coverage widely recognized for its excellence, winning the prestigious Peabody and Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards and an Emmy Award. Thomas also participated in a “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” broadcast, which won the Edward R. Murrow Award for best newscast in 2005. He was a key part of the ABC News team honored with Murrow Awards for Overall Excellence in 2014, 2015 and 2016. His reporting on the Fentanyl crisis won a 2018 Murrow Award for Radio News Series.  Thomas was named the recipient of the RTDNA 2015 John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award, which is named after the organization’s founder and first president and honors contributions to journalism and freedom of the press. He is a past chairman of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Thomas received an Emmy Award as part of team coverage of the inauguration of President Barack Obama and, in 2011, the Houston Association of Black Journalists honored him with its Pinnacle Award. In 2012, Thomas was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.
A former Washington Post reporter and CNN Justice Department correspondent, Thomas started his career at The Roanoke Times and World-News. He is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

The 2019 First Amendment Awards honorees include Senator Amy Klobuchar, CNN, James Goldston of ABC News, David Begnaud of CBS News, Shepard Smith of FOX News Channel, Dale Hansen of WFAA-TV – TEGNA, the 2018 “Road Warriors” of NBC News, Jamal Khashoggi and the journalists of The Capital Gazette. Join us in honoring this year’s First Amendment Award recipients in Washington, D.C., while supporting RTDNF’s continued efforts to promote and protect journalism.


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The annual  is an opportunity to recognize and support responsible journalism and is the Foundation’s biggest annual fundraiser, raising essential funds to ensure that the broadcast and digital news profession remains a critical part of our nation’s free press for generations to come.

RTDNF thanks TEGNA, CBS News, the National Association of Broadcasters, NBC News, MSNBC, Nexstar Media Group, Fox News Network, LLC and CNN Newsource for supporting this event.



RTDNF, a 501(c)3 educational foundation, was created to help RTDNA members embody and uphold the standards of ethical journalism and promote leadership in the newsroom. The Foundation works for an America in which the press is able to hold the powerful to account, shine a light on corruption, act a catalyst for positive change in local communities without denial of access, undue restriction, or fear of attack. We train and equip local journalists and journalism students to know their rights and report seek & report truth ethically – upholding your right to know.


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