CHICAGO, IL, June 7, 1997 -- The Corporation for Public Broadcasting today named William E. Buzenberg, leader of National Public Radio news during a seven-year span of rapid growth and award- winning service, as the recipient of its 21st annual Edward R. Murrow Award, public radio's highest recognition.
Buzenberg, who departed his post earlier this year as vice president for news, was presented the award by CPB board member Frank Cruz at the opening session of the annual Public Radio Conference here.
Noting that the weekly audience for NPR news has climbed 62 percent since Buzenberg started in 1990, Cruz said, "As all of you know -- and as Ed Murrow knew in his day -- these things don't happen without vision, and enormous effort, and a certain amount of scar tissue, however smooth and seamless it may sound to your audience."
"Thanks to Bill's resilience, no matter how many obstacles there were, he bounced back hour after-hour, day-after-day. The result is a literate, intelligent news service, of enormous value to the American people. Murrow would be impressed."
Cruz called Buzenberg a "courageous and sophisticated professional" who, in the Murrow tradition, has "helped fulfill America's hunger for news."
NPR's reporting staff nearly doubled and its newscasts and related news programming expanded to 24 hours a day during Buzenberg's tenure. Buzenberg also was instrumental in launching NPR's international service and in creating new programs, including Talk of the Nation and Weekly Edition. NPR news has won nine DuPont-Columbia Awards and 10 Peabody Awards in the past seven years.
"What we do in public radio matters in this country because our programming still has its soul. That soul is distinctive public service journalism," said Buzenberg in accepting the award. "Our niche is quality information. We provide news and ideas for citizens, built on fact-based reporting, and sound principles of journalism. Our success comes not from raw numbers of listeners, but from the meaning and value we provide for people in their daily lives."
Buzenberg, a veteran of the Peace Corps in Bolivia, also has extensive reporting experience in Europe, Latin America and the Philippines. He served as NPR's London bureau chief from 1987 to 1989.
Next month, Buzenberg joins Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) as a consultant. He will become MPR's senior director of news and information in January 1998.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.