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Jane Pauley, the long-time popular anchor of NBC’s “Today” show and founding co-host of “Dateline NBC,” will be this year’s recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, Arizona State University announced today.
Pauley will receive the award, given annually by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, at a luncheon ceremony Nov. 12 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.
“I have long been a great admirer of Jane Pauley, whose career embodies the very essence of this award,” Cronkite said. “She is an award-winning journalist and journalism pioneer. Her standard of excellence as a news anchor and her in-depth interviews have earned her the respect of colleagues with whom she’s worked – and those of us who wish we had.”
Pauley is the 25th recipient of the award. Past winners include TV executives Ted Turner, Roone Arledge, William Paley and Frank Stanton; publishers Al Neuharth, Katharine Graham, Otis Chandler and Malcolm Forbes; television journalists Tom Brokaw, Bill Moyers, Bernard Shaw and Don Hewitt; and newspaper journalists Bob Woodward, Ben Bradlee, Helen Thomas and George Will.
“What an honor to receive an award that bears the name Walter Cronkite,” Pauley said. “When I was just starting out in broadcast journalism, that name – more than any other – was synonymous with a passion for the truth, authoritative reporting and bedrock integrity. It still is.”
The Indiana University political science graduate began her career as a TV reporter in Indianapolis in 1972 and within three years became the first female evening news anchor at WMAQ in Chicago.
From 1976 to 1990 she was co-host of “The Today Show,” helping to launch it into first place in the morning news show ratings. Her co-host was Brokaw, last year’s Cronkite Award recipient, and later Bryant Gumbel.
Pauley also anchored the weekend edition of “NBC Nightly News,” appeared as a regular substitute for Brokaw on “NBC Nightly News” and hosted “Time and Again” – a retrospective news program on MSNBC – as well as a weekly newsmagazine, “Real Life with Jane Pauley.”
For more than a decade, Pauley anchored “Dateline NBC” with co-host Stone Phillips, appearing as many as four nights a week on the NBC primetime schedule. Pauley’s Dateline farewell, “Jane Pauley: Signing Off,” attracted record ratings. In 2004 she returned to television with “The Jane Pauley Show.”
A member of the Broadcast and Cable Hall of Fame, Pauley has been honored with multiple Emmy Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award for outstanding achievement, the Radio and Television News Directors Association’s Paul White Award for lifetime contribution to electronic journalism, the Gracie Allen Award for outstanding achievement by an individual from American Women in Radio and Television, and the first international Matrix Award from the Association for Women in Communication.
Pauley is recognized as a powerful advocate in the field of mental health. In her memoir, the New York Times’ bestseller “Skywriting: a Life out of the Blue,” Pauley wrote candidly about being diagnosed with mental illness at the age of 50 after medical treatment for hives triggered a previously unrecognized vulnerability to bipolar depression.
Pauley is a member of the Leadership Board of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. She is also a member of the advisory board of the International Council of Freedom from Hunger and chairman of the advisory board of The Children’s Health Fund.
“We are thrilled Jane Pauley is the 2007 recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “Ms. Pauley’s extraordinary career has touched millions of Americans over the years, and she has served as a wonderful role model to countless young women seeking careers in TV news.”
The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication was named in honor of the former CBS Evening News anchor in 1984. The nationally recognized school, which offers professional programs on the undergraduate and master’s levels, this year won first-place nationally in both the Hearst Journalism Awards and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence competition.