Cronkite School may revoke Charlie Rose’s award

Charlie Rose, the 2015 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism recipient and anchor of "CBS This Morning" talks to moderator Ted Simons, host of "Arizona Horizon," Sunday, October 18, 2015. (Samantha Incorvaia/DD)
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After accusations of sexual harrassment were made against Charlie Rose, Arizona State University is now considering rescinding his award for journalistic excellence.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is establishing a committee to determine if the school should revoke the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism given to longtime PBS and CBS news anchor Charlie Rose following recent sexual assault allegations. The award is given yearly to notable journalists.

Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan will use the committee’s discussion to decide on a course of action for the Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees who help select the winner of the award each year, according to an email sent from Callahan to the Cronkite student body Tuesday.

Callahan said the ad hoc committee will consist of Cronkite deans, faculty, board members, alumni and students.

“I hope this puts into place a process for thoughtful conversation as well as quick action,” Callahan said in the email.

The email also said the Cronkite school and Arizona PBS leadership met soon after reading The Washington Post article published Monday outlining the sexual assault allegations to ensure his show will no longer be aired on Arizona PBS.

The Post article reported on claims from eight women that Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them including “lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.”

Callahan said he also started having conversations Monday with students, alumni, faculty, industry leaders and other stakeholders about possibly revoking the award. Rose won the Walter Cronkite Award for Journalism Excellence in 2015 for his work with PBS, “CBS This Morning” and “60 Minutes.”

“It is designed to be an award in perpetuity,” Callahan said in the email. “But given the egregious nature of the sexual misconduct detailed in The Post report, the school yesterday began evaluating whether the award should be rescinded, which would be an unprecedented act for the Cronkite Award and extremely rare for any award.”

The Cronkite school has never revoked the award since the school started presenting it in 1984.

In 2015, there was debate among some in the journalism field as to whether the school should revoke then “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian William’s Cronkite Award from 2009 following revelations that he exaggerated several news reports. The school did not revoke the award.

CBS News fired Rose and PBS cancelled his self-titled nightly show Tuesday in response to the allegations. Bloomberg TV cancelled their rebroadcast agreement with the show shortly after the announcements from CBS and PBS.

Callahan said the school and Board of Trustees plan to reach a decision by Friday.

Contact the reporter at Stephanie.M.Morse@asu.edu.

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