RTDNF Announces 2020 First Amendment Award Winners

WASHINGTON—The Radio Television Digital News Foundation has unveiled its list of seven winners for the 30th annual First Amendment Awards. The First Amendment Awards honor the role that journalists play in local and national media promoting the First Amendment.

Winning the 2020 Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award is ABC News’ David Muir. The Leonard Zeidenberg Award, named after the late Broadcasting & Cable senior correspondent, is presented to a radio or TV journalist or news executive who made a major contribution to the protection of First Amendment freedoms. Muir, in his role as ABC World News Tonight anchor, offers dispatches from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Beirut and other global hotspots.

The simply named First Amendment Award, which recognizes an outstanding individual or organization that champions the First Amendment and press freedoms, went to CBS News’ “60 Minutes.” On air for 52 seasons, “60 Minutes” is known for shedding light on important subjects and holding its subject accountable, per RTDNF.

Robert Horner of NBC News was the honoree for the First Amendment Service Award, given to a professional in local or network news that works off-air, behind the scenes. Horner is the creator and was president for 27 years of NBC News Channel, a feed service for local NBC affiliates and NBC’s international partners.

The First Amendment Leadership Award was won by Barbara Maushard, the senior vice president of news at Hearst Television. The Leadership Award is presented to a business, government or other leader that contributed to the freedom of the press.

Recognizing a journalist that went to extreme lengths to provide meaning and context to a complicated news story or issue of extreme importance, the 2020 First Amendment Clarity Award was presented to Lori Montenegro, the Washington Bureau Chief of Telemundo.

Earning the First Amendment Defender Award for taking a public stand in support of press freedom was Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

Lastly, the Lifetime Achievement Award recognized Steve Andrews, senior investigative reporter from WFLA-TV in Tampa, Fla. His career has spanned 35 years, covering stories that in many cases have helped change laws.

“This year’s honorees are a mix of local and network journalists that provide illuminating reporting, a respected national news program which holds the powerful accountable and a visionary who defends the public’s right to know,” said Jerry Walsh, RTDNF chairman and vice president of local content development at Nexstar Broadcasting.

All of the winners will receive their awards at the First Amendment Awards Dinner & Show on March 5 in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.firstamendmentawards.org