Reporters Committee to honor Brokaw, Burton, Ibargüen, Newton at 2016 Press Freedom Awards Dinner in New York

Press Release | March 10, 2016

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will present its 2016 Freedom of the Press Awards to Eve Burton and the Office of General Counsel for Hearst and to Alberto Ibargüen and Eric Newton of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation at a dinner ceremony May 17 at The Pierre Hotel in New York City.

At the awards dinner, NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw will receive the Fred Graham Distinguished Service Award.

Co-chairs of the 2016 Freedom of the Press Awards Dinner are Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL Inc., and Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University. The evening will be hosted by "NBC Nightly News" Anchor Lester Holt.

The honorees are being recognized for their work on behalf of First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of the press, and the public’s interest in open government.

  • Senior Vice President & General Counsel Eve Burton and the Office of General Counsel at Hearst have led the way in showing how to build an in-house legal department representing a broad array of print, broadcast, cable, and online clients to meet head-on the toughest challenges the First Amendment faces today. Burton’s team of lawyers fought a fierce battle over the reporter’s privilege in the BALCO case in California and appear in jurisdictions all around the country in cases ranging from libel defense to access and public records litigation. Hearst’s model of enthusiastically and aggressively supporting its own reporters and the public’s right to know has benefitted the practice of journalism everywhere.
  • Under the leadership of President Alberto Ibargüen and Special Adviser (now consultant) Eric Newton, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation continues to blaze new trails to address the evolving needs of a changing media universe while at the same time maintaining its decades-long commitment to the preservation and protection of First Amendment freedoms. There is virtually no aspect of American journalism that has not been touched by Ibargüen and Newton. They have provided generous resources to the nation’s newsrooms to defend press rights in the service of an informed citizenry and have steered the industry toward an embrace of the digital future and the search for the next generation of First Amendment precedents.
  • NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw has been honored with many richly deserved awards for his reporting during a remarkable career. He is receiving the Fred Graham Distinguished Service Award, named after a founding member of the Reporters Committee, in recognition of his two decades on the Reporters Committee board and as a champion of a free press. His long service to the Reporters Committee includes serving as host for its first awards dinner at NBC Studios in New York in 1995. At the Committee’s 30th Anniversary dinner in 2001, he reprised this role when Katharine Graham was honored. NBC’s leadership at the Reporter’s Committee began with John Chancellor and continues today with Andrea Mitchell.

"These honorees have spent their careers defending press freedom and the right to information," said Reporters Committee Chair Pierre Thomas of ABC News. "We are honored to recognize their impact on the world of journalism and, in turn, public accountability, and look forward to an evening of applauding their work and dedication.

"The Reporters Committee also is indebted to our dinner chairs, host and supporters for signing on to make the 2016 Freedom of the Press Awards a great success," Thomas added.

Information about tables and tickets for the dinner – as well as complete biographies of the honorees, dinner chairs and host – can be found on the Reporters Committee website at www.rcfp.org/awardsdinner2016. Supporters also can contact Tracey Doolin of Inez Weinstein Special Events Inc., at tdoolin@inezevents.com or 212-254-6677.

About the Reporters Committee

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was founded by leading journalists and media lawyers in 1970 when the nation’s news media faced a wave of government subpoenas asking reporters to name confidential sources. Today it provides legal resources and support to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. Funded by corporate, foundation, and individual contributions, the Reporters Committee serves the nation’s leading news organizations; thousands of reporters, editors, and media lawyers; and many more who use our online and mobile resources. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.

Related Reporters Committee resources:

· 2016 Freedom of the Press Awards