WASHINGTON —The Radio Television Digital News Association has announced the winner of the 2016 John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes an individual’s contributions to the journalism profession and freedom of the press: Gray Television Director of Talent Development Jeffrey Marks.
A longtime news director and television station general manager, Marks became known worldwide for being the public face of WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va., in the wake of the killing of two journalists on live TV.
“Under the most difficult of circumstances, Jeff Marks spoke to his station’s audience with clarity and comforted his colleagues with compassion and grace,” said Mike Cavender, executive director of RTDNA. “He demonstrated remarkable leadership through adversity.”
“No one could have been prepared for what happened, but he gave strength to his team when they needed it most,” added Kathy Walker, chair of RTDNA. “His perseverance will long be remembered.”
The award will be presented on Monday, Sept. 19 at 5 p.m. ET at Excellence in Journalism 2016, at the Sheraton New Orleans. The ceremony will be followed by a reception.
Marks now serves as director for talent development for Gray Television, the owner of television stations in 50 U. S. markets. He is responsible for assisting the stations with a wide range of training and recruiting tools. He served for more than eight years as president and general manager of WDBJ7 in Roanoke. Before Roanoke, he served as general manager of WAGT-TV in Augusta, Ga., WLBZ-TV in Bangor, Maine, and News 12 New Jersey, an all-news regional cable channel.
He began his career as a radio and television journalist in his home state of Kentucky and also served as executive producer for news at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. His first news director position was at WCSH-TV in Portland, Maine, where the station’s newscasts grew to the #1 market position during his tenure, a position the station still holds nearly 30 years later. Marks was elected chairman of RTDNA , and served eight years on its board. He was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 2015.
He has coached journalists at the Poynter Institute in Florida and several universities and has traveled overseas on numerous occasions to train broadcasters. He has lectured and trained in multiple cities throughout the countries of Romania, Ukraine and Georgia.He holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Kentucky.
Named for the founder and first president of RTDNA, the John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award was established in 1959 to recognize an individual’s contributions to the journalism profession and freedom of the press. Past Hogan Award recipients include Jorge Ramos, Christopher Glenn, Don Fitzpatrick, Hugh Downs, Walter Cronkite, Terry Anderson, Rob Downey, Col. Barney Oldfield, David Sarnoff and Frank Stanton.
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