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Giants of Broadcasting Luncheon 2011

Michael Hurtig | October 26th, 2011

WNET President-Emeritus Bill Baker hosted the 9th annual Giants of Broadcasting ceremony on October 14th. The ceremony paid homage to thirteen “media giants” who transformed the broadcasting industry over a span of seven decades. The luncheon was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where guests wined and dined while enjoying celebratory montages and acceptance speeches.

Honorees included Brian Williams, Christiane Amanpour, Fred Pierce, Charles Kralt, Robert Northshield, Charles Osgood, Rand Morrison, John Dille III, Brian Lamb, Frances Preston, James Arness, Rick Buckley, and Dawson ‘Tack’ Nail.

While most honorees spoke of their past achievements, current ABC international correspondent Christiane Amanpour discussed her hopes for the future of broadcasting. “I do hope in the future that we see many more women on the screen, and that there is a balance between men and women,” she said. “I would like to see the day where women were not judged by the amount of highlights in their hair, not judged by the shortness of their hemlines or deeply plunging cleavages, but [judged] for their professionalism, competence, and the quality of their work.”

The ceremony acknowledged that broadcasting is still relevant. The awards honored media entrepreneurs of the past alongside broadcasting icons of the present. The late James Arness and Dawson ‘Tack’ Nail were commemorated for paving the way for twenty-first century journalism. Meanwhile, CBS anchor Charles Osgood and NBC correspondent Brian Williams continue to make waves in modern day broadcasting.

The ceremony was sponsored by the Library of American Broadcasting, which acts to preserve historical records from past television and radio broadcasts. Their ultimate goal is to “make records available to a wide audience of academia, industry, and the public, while simultaneously keeping a weather eye on the future”. The luncheon is the Library’s biggest fundraising event of the year.

Women, War and Peace Premieres on PBS; Leymah Gbowee’s Nobel Win

Michael Hurtig | October 11th, 2011

Last night, PBS premiered the first of five-parts of Women, War and Peace, a series in part featuring Liberian peace advocate and women’s rights leader Leymah Gbowee. The series seeks to “challenge the aesthetics of war” by exposing the reality of a woman’s role during warfare. The premiere comes just days after news of Gbowee’s 2011 Nobel Peace Prize win for her nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy, and gender equality.

At this year’s Celebration of Teaching and Learning, Gbowee talked about her peace efforts with project creator Abigail Disney and educator Colm Macahon. During a panel Gbowee specifically addressed the need to “challenge the media’s image of African women and women in conflicts around the world.”, and to use media to form a bridge from remote communities to the rest of the world, encouraging new ideas, thoughts and perspectives.

Gbowee shares the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize along with other two other women, Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf and Yemen peace-maker Tawakkol Karman. Gbowee told the New York Times that their win is “finally a recognition that we can’t ignore the other half of the world’s population. We cannot ignore their unique skills.”

Watch the full episode. See more Women War and Peace.

Pete Hamill Talks Deadlines at Center for Communications Panel: Pages from the Past

Michael Hurtig | October 4th, 2011

On Monday, American journalist and author Pete Hamill joined New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel at the Center for Communications Panel, Pages from the Past. Hamill is best known for his international reporting and his best-selling memoir, A Drinking Life.

The panel was a part of a screening event, which featured the films Deadline- U.S.A. (1952) and The Paper (1994). Each film recalled a journalist’s experience at a newspaper at the height of the print era.


Following, Hamill reminisced about the “old way of doing things,” the newspaper printing process before the rise of digital media. The social atmosphere, said Hamill, is an essential part of newspaper production. Approaching the 5 o’clock deadline was “the biggest adrenaline rush of all time” which included the “furious clacking of typewriters” and celebratory drinks following the day’s successes.

According to Hamill, the Internet takes away the “climax” of a newspaper’s front page.  Online, the newspaper is capable of moving onto something new in the “next thirty seconds” after publishing a big story. The ability to constantly inform the public leaves no room for finality, or achievement.

“[The publishing industry] is prematurely surrendering, says Hamill, “there’s no reason why they can’t coexist with the internet like stick shift and automatic did for years.”

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