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RTDNF honored The Associated Press and four journalism leaders for their commitment to press freedoms at the 24th Annual First Amendment Awards Dinner on Wednesday evening in Washington at a black-tie event at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
"To bring this group of amazing people together in the same room is gratifying," said RTDNF Chairman Vincent Duffy. "It puts a face on the people who do the hard work of both exercising and protecting our Constitution each and every day."
"Our honorees are outstanding defenders of freedom of the press," added Mike Cavender, RTDNF Executive Director. "This gathering is a wonderful opportunity to show support for the First Amendment and to provide scholarships to a new generation of journalists."
First Amendment Leadership Award: David Lougee, Gannett
Lougee is president of the broadcasting division of Gannett Co., Inc. He joined Gannett in 2007, after working as a senior executive at Belo Corporation. He was a television news director in Seattle, Washington, DC and Denver. He currently serves on the NBC affiliate board and the board of the National Association of Broadcasters.
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. - Award presented by Rob Mennie, VP/Senior News Executive, Gannett
Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award: Lester Holt, NBC News
Holt is the weekend anchor of NBC Nightly News and co-anchor of the weekend edition to Today. He joined NBC News after working as an anchor and reporter in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. He is a recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.
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.
- Award presented by David Corvo, Senior Executive Producer Primetime, NBC News
First Amendment Service Award: Robin Sproul, ABC News
Sproul has been vice president and Washington bureau chief for ABC News since March 1993. She joined ABC in 1981 as DC bureau chief for ABC News Radio. She and her teams have won multiple major journalism awards and she is a former trustee of RTDNF.
This award honors professionals in local or network news who work in an off-air, management, largely behind-the-scenes capacity.
- Award presented by Martha Raddatz, Chief Global Affairs Correspondent, ABC News
First Amendment Award: The Associated Press
To be accepted by Gary Pruitt, CEO: Pruitt is President and CEO of the Associated Press. Prior to leading AP, he was president, CEO and chairman at The McClatchy Co. He has served on the AP board and is a former chair of the Newspaper Association of America.
This award honors an outstanding individual or organization which champions the First Amendment and press freedoms.
- Award presented by Tom Curley, former President & CEO, The Associated Press
RTDNF Lifetime Achievement Award: Bill Plante, CBS News
Plante has been a CBS News White House correspondent during the Reagan, Clinton, Geo. W. Bush and Obama administrations, and a correspondent at the State Department. He has covered every presidential campaign since Humphrey and Nixon and has reported on major events around the world since joining CBS News in 1964.
RTDNF presents its lifetime achievement award to those who have made outstanding contributions to journalism and press freedom. - Award presented by Susan Zirinsky, Senior Executive Producer, CBS News
Chris Wallace of Fox News served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, which drew a large crowd and raised thousands of dollars for RTDNF's journalism scholarship and fellowship programs. Details about the RTDNF First Amendment Awards can be found at rtdna.org.