To learn more about the annual First Amendment Awards ceremony, click here.


First Amendment Leadership Award
RTDNF presents this award annually to a business, government or other leader who has made a significant contribution to the protection of the First Amendment and freedom of the press.

2019 David Begnaud
2018 Gretchen Carlson
2017 Stanley S. Hubbard and Stanley E. Hubbard

2016 Rich Boehne
2015 Kathy Kirby
2014 David Lougee
2013 Robert Decherd
2012 Steve Capus
2011 David Barrett
2010 David Westin
2009 Google, Inc.
2008 Tom Curley
2007 Roger Ailes
2006 Hurricane Katrina Station Groups:

  •     Belo Corp. (WWL-TV)
  •     Clear Channel Broadcasting (WBUV-FM, WKNN-FM, WMJY-FM,WQYZ-FM, KHEV-FM, WNOE-FM, WODT-AM, WQUE-FM and WYLD-AM/FM)
  •     Emmis Communications (WVUE-TV)
  •     Entercom Communications (WWL-AM)
  •     Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. (WDSU-TV)
  •     Liberty Corporation (WLOX-TV) and
  •     Tribune Broadcasting (WGNO-TV)
2005 Jim Keelor
2004 Charles Grassley and Patrick Leahy
2003 Floyd Abrams
2002 Katharine Graham
2001 Don Hewitt
2000 R. E. "Ted" Turner
1999 Bob Wright
1998 Roone Arledge
1997 Robert L. Johnson
1996 Howard Stringer
1995 Tom Johnson
1994 James Quello
1993 Frank Stanton
1992 Allen Neuharth

Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment 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.

2018 Joe Scarborough & Mika Brzezinski 
2017 Bill Whitaker
2016 Cami McCormick
2015 Ann Compton
2014 Lester Holt
2013 Candy Crowley
2012 Martha Raddatz
2011 Wolf Blitzer
2010 Brian Williams
2009 Cokie Roberts
2008 Bob Schieffer
2007 Bob Woodruff and Kimberly Dozier
2006 Gwen Ifill
2005 Ed Bradley
2004 Andrea Mitchell
2003 Judy Woodruff
2002 Sam Donaldson
2001 Jim Lehrer
2000 Diane Sawyer
1999 Christiane Amanpour
1998 Mike Wallace
1997 Jane Pauley
1996 Carole Simpson
1995 Walter Cronkite
1994 David Brinkley
1993 John Chancellor
1992 James Snyder

First Amendment Service Award
This award honors professionals in local or network news who work in an off-air, management, largely behind-the-scenes capacity.

2018 David Rhodes
2017 Steve Jones
2016 Robert Garcia
2015 Perry Sook
2014 Robin Sproul
2013 Lloyd Siegel
2012 Marci Burdick
2011 Susana Schuler
2010 Harvey Nagler
2009 Susan Grant
2008 Paula Madison
2007 Philip Balboni
2006 William Wheatley
2005 Wendy Walker Whitworth
2004 Walter Ulloa
2003 Susan Zirinsky
2002 Fred Young
2001 Gary Wordlaw
2000 Lee Giles
1999 Marty Haag
1998 Betty Cole Dukert

First Amendment Award
This award honors an outstanding individual or organization which champions the First Amendment and press freedoms.

2018 Meet the Press
2017 Mark Halperin and John Heilemann
2016 Jason Rezaian
2015 James Risen
2014 The Associated Press
2013 Twitter
2012 Jim Bohannon
2010 Barbara Cochran & Marcellus Alexander
2009 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
2008 Richard Wiley

First Amendment Defender Award
This award is presented to an individual or organization who takes a public stand in support of press freedom.

2018 Congressman Eric Swalwell
2016 Tim Tai

RTDNF Citation of Courage
This award is presented in recognition of distinguished service to journalism and extraordinary courage.

2015 James Foley
2015 Steven Sotloff

RTDNF Lifetime Achievement Award

2018 Robin Roberts
2017 Nina Totenberg
2016 Tom Brokaw
2015 Bob Simon
2014 Bill Plante
2012 Andy Rooney