RTNDF To Honor Three at First Amendment Dinner

WASHINGTON—The Radio and Television News Directors Foundation will honor James Keelor, Ed Bradley and Wendy Walker Whitworth on March 10 at its 15th Annual First Amendment Awards Dinner. The three will be honored for their work on behalf of press freedom.

James Keelor will receive the 2005 First Amendment Leadership Award. A former news director, Keelor is now president of Liberty Corporation, a station group known for its emphasis on news. TheGreenville, SC, firm owns 15 television stations, plus Take Ten Productions, CableVantage Inc., and Broadcast Merchandising Corporation.

Past recipients of the First Amendment Leadership Award include Floyd Abrams, Katharine Graham, Don Hewitt, Howard Stringer, Roone Arledge, Robert Johnson, and Ted Turner.

Ed Bradley, correspondent with CBS News’ 60 Minutes, will receive the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award. Bradley has won 18 Emmys for his work, plus multiple Peabody Awards and other honors. He was the 2000 recipient of the Paul White Award from RTNDA. In addition to his award-winning work, Bradley is known for his work mentoring and supporting young journalists.

Past recipients of the Zeidenberg award, named for the late senior correspondent for Broadcasting & Cable, include Andrea Mitchell, Judy Woodruff, Sam Donaldson, Jim Lehrer, Mike Wallace, and Diane Sawyer.

Wendy Walker Whitworth, senior executive producer of Larry King Live and a senior vice president at CNN, will receive the First Amendment Service Award. A cable news pioneer and former White House producer, she established systems for 24-hour coverage of major beats and championed cable news’ right to equal treatment with broadcast networks. She has been the top producer for Larry King’s nightly news show since 1985.

Previous winners of the First Amendment Service Award, which goes to a person working in an off-air, management capacity, include Susan Zirinsky, Fred Young, Gary Wordlaw, Lee Giles, and Marty Haag.

All three honorees will deliver remarks at RTNDF’s dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington.

RTNDF provides training programs, seminars, scholarship support, and research in areas of critical concern to electronic news professionals and their audience. The foundation’s work is supported by contributions from foundations, corporations, members of the Radio-Television News Directors Association, and other individuals.