RTNDF Honors Ifill and Wheatley in March

The Radio and Television News Directors Foundation will honor Gwen Ifill of PBS, William Wheatley of NBC and local stations affected by Hurricane Katrina at its 16th Annual First Amendment Awards Dinner in Washington on March 9.

This year seven station groups located in Louisiana and Mississippi will receive the First Amendment Leadership Award for their extraordinary coverage and dedication to public service shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The list of the stations being honored includes Belo Corp. (WWL-TV), Clear Channel Communications (WBUV-FM, WKNN-FM, WMJY-FM, WQYZ-FM, KHEV-FM, WNOE-FM, WODT-AM, WQUE-FM and WYLD-AM/FM), Emmis Television (WVUE-TV), Entercom Communications (WWL-AM), Hearst-Argyle Television (WDSU-TV), Liberty Corporation (WLOX-TV) and Tribune Broadcasting (WGNO-TV).

Ifill, who is the moderator and managing editor of PBS's Washington Week and senior correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, will receive the Leonard Zeidenberg Award. The award is given out annually to a person in the broadcasting industry who has made a major contribution to the protection of First Amendment freedoms.

Wheatley, who retired from NBC News in June 2005, will receive the First Amendment Service Award. Wheatley was at NBC News for 30 years during which he was executive producer and senior producer of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. He was also responsible for the network's domestic and international newsgathering for NBC News Specials, NBC News Radio and NBC Mobile.