ABC anchor Christiane Amanpour is the newest recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, ASU announced Monday.
Amanpour anchors “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” on ABC and was an international correspondent at CNN for more than 20 years before taking the helm of the ABC’s Sunday morning talk show.
“This is an extraordinary honor,” Amanpour said in a statement. “I met the great man and benefitted enormously from his wisdom. He was known as Uncle Walter to generations of Americans because he won their trust with his unwavering integrity and by remaining rooted in real reporting.”
Walter Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan said he considers Amanpour the preeminent foreign correspondent of her generation, adding that her talent is rooted in her journalistic skills.
“The stories she chooses to tackle are arguably the most difficult in terms of complexity and safety,” Callahan said. “She is also fearless in how she tackles different subjects while sometimes putting herself in harm’s way.”
Dr. Bill Silcock, director of Cronkite Global Initiatives and Cronkite professor, also praised Amanpour’s international experience and talent.
“Christiane’s reputation is global but her reach is local,” Silcock said in an email. “Once she tweeted a direct message to me as she flew out West. It made my day.”
Recent Cronkite graduate Samuel Burke “earned his CNN wings on (Amanpour’s) ship,” Silcock said.
As part of her role as the 2011 Cronkite Award winner, Amanpour will be coming to Phoenix on November 17 to accept her award. The reception will take place at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Amanpour will talk to small groups of students and possibly give a lecture or talk to a larger audience while in the Valley, Callahan said. The details have yet to be solidified.
Callahan said the award brings positive national attention to the Cronkite School.
“It is a wonderful recognition of the school when (the award is) announced because the news spreads all over the country so that people know about the Cronkite award,” he said. “The fact that we have the ability to draw in Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams (among others) is a wonderful benefit for our students to have professional journalists come here and spend time with students in the newsroom and in the forum.”
Callahan suggested that three major tenets of journalism – objectivity, accuracy and fairness – are all qualities that Amanpour herself represents. The Cronkite Award honors journalists that adhere to classical canons of news reporting.
Silcock also said Amanpour created a new path for female correspondents reporting on international affairs.
“I am thrilled our school recognized a woman who has pioneered television news foreign correspondence,” Silcock said. “There have been others before, but none better. I hope (Amanpour’s selection) will inspire our students … that the story is global and to go get it.”
Past winners of the award include the Diane Sawyer, the anchor of “ABC World News” and Brian Williams, the anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”
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