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Award-winning journalist Christiane Amanpour on Thursday called journalism worldwide a “sacred endeavor” as she accepted the 2011 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism at Arizona State University.
“We have so much power for good, and also for bad when we don’t act,” she said. “To speak truth to power is an incredible thing.” (Journalism) “is a great endeavor; it is a sacred endeavor. It is a public service.”
ASU President Michael Crow presented Amanpour with the 28th annual award, given each year by the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to recognize a distinguished journalist who embodies the values of the school’s namesake — excellence, integrity, accuracy, fairness and objectivity.
Amanpour was honored at a luncheon attended by more than 1,100 students, media leaders, business executives, civic leaders and Cronkite School supporters at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.
During her two-day visit to the school, Amanpour watched a broadcast of Cronkite NewsWatch, the school’s award-winning student-produced newscast. At the luncheon, she praised Cronkite students for living up to the legacy of Walter Cronkite.
“It gives me a huge amount of hope and faith in the future of this great profession,” she said.
The award-winning foreign correspondent and anchor of ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” joins the ranks of past award recipients including TV journalists Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw; newspaper publishers Katharine Graham, Al Neuharth and Otis Chandler; television executives William Paley, Frank Stanton and Ted Turner; and newspaper journalists Ben Bradlee, Helen Thomas and Bob Woodward.
“Christiane Amanpour’s extraordinary courage, talent and passion make her one of the most esteemed journalists of our time,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “Her groundbreaking accomplishments provide inspiration to young journalists here at the Cronkite School and around the world. We’re delighted to honor her with the Cronkite Award.”
Prior to the luncheon, Cronkite students gathered in the school’s First Amendment Forum for a question-and-answer session hosted by Cronkite alumnus Samuel Burke, now an anchor and producer at CNN en espanol and a digital producer at CNN International.
Amanpour spoke to students about her experiences as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts and crises in places such as Bosnia, Somalia, Egypt and Libya.
“I feel like I’m a warrior for international news in the U.S.,” she said.
She told the students that there is no such thing as overnight success and that journalists must earn their credibility.
“It’s hard work,” she said. “Stand up, grab the microphone and don’t be afraid to ask the questions.”
Before joining ABC News, Amanpour was an international correspondent for CNN for more than 27 years. She specialized in reports from some of the globe’s most dangerous regions, including war-torn areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, the Palestinian territories, Rwanda and the Balkans. In 1995, she was named CNN’s chief international correspondent. She also anchored the daily interview program “Amanpour” for the network. She left CNN last year to become anchor of ABC’s long-running Sunday morning public affairs show, “This Week.”
Amanpour has been recognized with numerous honors, including nine Emmy Awards, four George Foster Peabody Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, two George Polk Awards, the Courage in Journalism Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award.