RTDNF to Honor Twitter With First Amendment Award

WASHINGTON – The Radio Television Digital News Foundation will honor micro-blogging service Twitter with its First Amendment Award at the 23rd Annual First Amendment Awards Dinner on March 14 in Washington.

The award honors an individual or organization that has played a significant role in dissemination of news and information. Examples of Twitter’s growing role include coverage of Hurricane Sandy, the Connecticut and Colorado mass killings, as well as the Arab Spring revolts.

“Twitter revolutionized speech in every sense of the word,” said Kevin Benz, RTDNF chairman. “From reporting breaking news within seconds to live coverage of closed and sometimes secretive events, Twitter gives a voice to citizen journalists and to those who have been disenfranchised or silenced while fighting for human rights around the world. There may be no more powerful tool defending press freedoms and the right to be heard.”

Twitter’s general counsel Alex MacGillivray, an advocate for journalism and free speech worldwide, will accept the award on the company’s behalf. Also being honored are Robert Decherd, chairman, president and CEO of A.H. Belo Corporation; Candy Crowley, chief political correspondent at CNN; and Lloyd Siegel, vice president of NBC News Partnerships.

The honorees are expected to make remarks at the dinner, which is attended by more than 500 people. The black-tie event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 1150 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC.

Funds raised at the First Amendment Dinner help support RTDNF’s work to promote excellence in electronic journalism through research, education and training for news professionals and journalism students.