Television news veteran Ted Koppel comes to Washington State University on Friday, September 23, to be honored with the 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcast Journalism and to present the keynote address, “…and Murrow was worried back then!,” during the Thirty-seventh Edward R. Murrow Symposium.
The free, public program begins at 7:00 p.m. in Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum on the WSU Pullman campus.
Koppel may be best known for his work as anchor of ABC’s Nightline—from its launch during the 1980 Iran hostage crisis until he left the network in 2005. Now a news analyst for NPR and a contributor to BBC America, he has been a vocal critic of the current state of American journalism and a champion of the high standards set by Edward R. Murrow.
The subject of his address, “…and Murrow was worried back then!,” derives from his unique perspective as one of the leading broadcast journalists of our time.
Continuing the Murrow legacy
“Ted Koppel is a living example of the values that drove Edward R. Murrow,” said Lawrence Pintak, founding dean of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at WSU. “He’s a reminder in this age of opinion and factoids that solid, balanced reporting is fundamental to our democracy,” Pintak said.
“I never met Ed Murrow,” said Koppel, “but my life has been bracketed by his influence—first as a boy in London, listening with my father as the BBC re-broadcast some of his wartime reports for CBS—those gave me my first appetite for journalism—and now (by) the great honor of receiving this award that bears his name, which still sets the standard for what broadcast journalism can and should be.”
A distinguished career
Koppel began his broadcasting career at WMCA Radio in New York. In 1963, he joined ABC Radio News as their youngest-ever correspondent, reporting for its daily Flair Reports program. One of his first assignments was to cover the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He moved to television in 1966, reporting on the Vietnam War, and has since covered countless headline events, including the tragedies of 9/11 and ensuing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During his 42 years at ABC News, Koppel also worked as anchor of The ABC Saturday Night News, as chief diplomatic correspondent, and as Hong Kong bureau chief. He has held a significant reporting role in every U.S. presidential campaign since 1964.
Koppel has won every major American broadcast industry honor, including 41 Emmy Awards, eight George Foster Peabody Awards, 10 duPont-Columbia Awards, 10 Overseas Press Club Awards, two George Polk Awards, and two Sigma Delta Chi Awards. Among his other tributes are the first Gold Baton in the history of the duPont-Columbia Awards for Nightline’s weeklong series originating from South Africa, and the Gabriel Personal Achievement Award from the National Catholic Association of Broadcasters and Communicators. He was selected as a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France and has received more than 20 honorary degrees from universities in the United States.