Murrow Award Ceremony at the PMDMC

PMDMC – Salute to Public Media Journalism
Presentation of the Edward R Murrow Awards
Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thank you, Bruce. And thank you for your leadership and vision.

Good afternoon.

I am so pleased to be back here again at PMDMC —I don’t think I have missed a meeting in ten years. But today is special –because we have two members of the CPB board with us, Dr. Jan Dates and Dr. Judith Davenport. And they are here to affirm CPB’s commitment to journalism as we honor the recipients of the Edward R. Murrow award.

Looking out at this great gathering, I want to congratulate Doug Eichten and his team for putting together another record-breaking PMDMC. These attendance numbers are especially impressive because all of you evidently committed to being in Washington, DC—in July.

That’s true dedication.

But women and men in development and marketing are not deterred by a little heat and humidity, thunder storms, or hurricanes, when it comes to connecting to Americans at every potential level of support for public media. You are all public media ambassadors, so it is important we take the time to inspire and thank you. The work you do matters so much to the future of public media.

In fact, when CPB began planning this program we decided the best way to say thank you was to show you what your efforts are supporting. Today we will all have an opportunity to hear from and honor NPR’s David Gilkey and Ofeibea Quist Arcton, this year’s Edward R. Murrow award honorees. Two extraordinary journalists who go to very dangerous places—permanent conflict zones—to get the facts, to tell the real story, and then through compelling words and photos, provide us with trusted information and a deeper understanding of the people in crisis in these stories—and why these stories matter and deserve more than just a headline or soundbite for the day.

Through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Edward R. Murrow, CPB has been recognizing outstanding contributions to public radio since 1977. And while all media continues to be roiled by ongoing advances in technology, we can be certain that the ways we connect to people with the content they need will continue to change. In terms of public media what will endure, what is evergreen—is our commitment to editorial integrity, to providing high quality trusted information, to telling the truth of the story.

But what also has changed is that today, we live in a world where it takes so much courage to be a journalist. To work with the knowledge that every word you write or photograph you take may be your last.

Just six months ago, eight journalists were massacred in Paris for exercising freedom of expression. According to the committee to protect journalists, in 2014, 61 journalists were killed in direct reprisal for their work in combat situations or while carrying out assignments. All of these attacks are meant to have a chilling effect on the work of journalists around the world – resulting perhaps in stories not told, photographs not taken, reports not filed, journalism watered down.

At CPB, our role is to strengthen and protect freedom of the press and the firewall of independence for journalists. CPB is tasked by Congress to serve as the stewards of the federal appropriation. So as CPB strives to honor our role as a good steward, we have to ask what a good steward would do to ensure the first amendment is honored, to ensure we strengthen our civil society through a strong and free press. And our response after the attack on the journalists and staff of Charlie Hebdo, was to affirm our unshakeable commitment in support of freedom of the press.

So that day we announced $7.5 million in special grants to support four of public media flagship journalism enterprises: Frontline, NPR’s international coverage, PBS NewsHour,

And PRI’s “The World.”

CPB’s overall commitment to local, regional and national journalism rose to 24 million dollars for this year. And I think it is important for each of you here today—to be able to share with potential and current donors and supporters what this support really means. Why this support is vital, especially at a time when commercial news organizations are cutting back on their international coverage.

So let me read a note we received right after CPB announced our 7.5 million dollar grant.

It is from Andrew Sussman, executive producer, PRI’s “The World.”

He said, “Many of us have lived and reported from places where honest, active journalism is far from a given, and I have actually had to explain to foreign friends the concept of public media.

Many of us have lost friends and colleagues who were killed for simply doing their job.

It is a privilege to do what we do, but to have this kind of support, in the midst of a vitally important story, means everything to us. After a very long day of breaking news and tight deadlines, the newsroom broke out in applause when they heard the news that CPB was increasing funding for international journalism.”

Thank you, Andrew.

To further our commitment, CPB and public media are working with the state department and the broadcasting board of governors to strengthen Ukraine’s first independent public broadcasting system.

We will be making content available to this fledgling network and exporting opportunities to provide training, expertise and equipment.

Given that Ukraine is at the center of the new cold war, we also expect that there will be opportunities for public media journalism to uncover and relate important stories that may affect all of our lives.

We may also be telling the story of the importance of public broadcasting in a new, different and impactful way and how it is vital to the lives of Ukrainians as well as Americans.

CPB is committed as well to telling America’ story as we fund local and regional journalism collaborations and national journalism, through PBS NewsHour and PBS NewsHour weekend, through Localore, through Latino public broadcasting, and southern California public radio’s one nation media, and the National Black Programming Consortia, through providing all Americans with an opportunity to access stories and voices in all of their diversity.

And these stories move the needle, change our society, enable people to shape our civil society.

Locally and nationally, public media through American graduate told the stories of one million young people failing to graduate from high school every year,

And then after four years we began to see the needle move in the right direction.

In fact, the adjusted cohort graduation rate which tracks students, established by all governors and the U.S. department of education and the national center for education statistics

Both confirm that for the first time in our country’s history, the national rate is now above 80 percent.

But what is so heartening, even though there is so much work ahead, is that the numbers of low performing schools has declined from 2000 in 2002 to less than 1200 in 2012 and further gains in rates have been driven by Hispanic and African American students.

Public media is continuing to play an important reporting role moving our country to this new level.

Thanks to PBS, NPR, APM, PRI, public media stations throughout the country, Frontline’s dropout nation and films such as the homestretch and 180 days life inside an American high school. Let’s watch the video


We hope that through the presentation of the Edward R. Murrow award to NPR’s David Gilkey and Ofeibea Quist Arcton, we will inspire a new generation of journalists for us to welcome into the public media family.

Prepare to be inspired!!!

Enjoy your lunch


Welcome back.

When Edward R. Murrow died, President Johnson said that all Americans feel a sense of loss and that he was a gallant fighter who had dedicated his life as a newsman and as a public official to the unrelenting search for the truth. And this ideal is what guides CPB when we call for nominations for the Murrow award.

This year the chair of the board Liz Sembler designated Dr. Judith Davenport to serve on the nomination panel. Let me tell you a little bit about this accomplished person. Dr. Davenport was appointed to the CPB board by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in September 2014. She co-founded the Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation with her husband Ronald Davenport and serves on its board of directors.

A practicing dentist for more than two decades, Dr. Davenport appeared in the children’s book “going to the dentist” written by Fred Rogers as part of his Mister Rogers First Experience series. She was also a featured dentist in a video by Detroit’s African American museum as well as the women in dentistry film produced by the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Dr. Davenport serves on several boards of directors, including the Heinz endowments, Carnegie museums of Pittsburgh; the Andy Warhol museum; the visiting committee of the Harvard art museums; and Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Judith Davenport earned her BS from Penn State, a master’s in public health and a doctorate in dental medicine from the University of Pittsburgh.

She has been named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, a distinguished alumna and an alumni fellow of Penn State, a legacy laureate and an African American distinguished alumna of the University of Pittsburgh. Please welcome Dr. Judy Davenport.

[Video on David Gilkey and Award presentation remarks by Judith Davenport]

[David Gilkey speaks]

[Video on Ofeibea Quist Arcton and Award presentation remarks by Judith Davenport]

[Ofeibea Quist Arcton speaks]

Thank you Judith, Ofeibea, and David.

When we were planning how best to find out more about our new Murrow honoree, we decided there was only one way to do this: A conversation with Hari Sreenivasan. Hari is an Emmy nominated journalist who joined the PBS NewsHour in 2009. He is the anchor of PBS NewsHour Weekend and a senior correspondent for the nightly program.

He also serves as the director of digital partnerships helping guide NewsHour online.

Hari left commercial television to come to public media and we are so glad he made that decision.

Prior to NewsHour he was reporting regularly on the CBS evening news, the early show and CBS Sunday morning. Prior to that he anchored for ABC news and also reported for world news tonight with Peter Jennings. His coverage of the gulf oil spill, and his work on an interactive piece for PBS frontline targeting the electorate, all brought him Emmy nominations. And he is the recipient of multiple outstanding broadcast story awards from the south Asian journalists’ association. think he deserves an award for his reporting connected to the American graduate initiative, his compelling reporting and storytelling are one of the reasons, these kids are finally getting the attention and help they need to succeed.

Please welcome Hari Sreenivasan.


Congratulations to the honorees, thank you to Hari and Judith, good afternoon.