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Reporters Committee honors Andrea Mitchell with 2019 Freedom of the Press Award

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Andrea Mitchell knows how to get the story.

Photo by: Art Streiber/MSNBC

She’s been reporting for NBC News on foreign affairs, national security and political issues that have defined the nation since 1978 — more than four decades — and shows no signs of slowing down.

“She will knock on every door and go through any door that she can in order to get information,” said PBS NewsHour Anchor and Managing Editor Judy Woodruff. “She brings the energy, she brings the enthusiasm, the passion, every bit as much today as she did when she started out.”

In May, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will honor Mitchell with a 2019 Freedom of the Press Award in recognition of her extensive journalism career and work advocating for the First Amendment rights of journalists, part of which has included serving on the organization’s steering committee for more than a decade.

David Cohen, Comcast-NBCUniversal senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer, said Mitchell sets the standard for journalism.

“I consider Andrea to be at the absolute top of the pantheon of our nation’s top journalists,” Cohen said. “Nobody has more experience in foreign affairs and politics, and no one works harder than Andrea Mitchell.”

Mitchell, who has also been an energy correspondent, chief congressional correspondent and chief White House correspondent at NBC News, has covered seven presidential administrations and filed exclusive reports from North Korea, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Bosnia, Kosovo, Pakistan and Haiti. She has been at the forefront of covering a range of news of historical significance, such as multiple congressional races and presidential campaigns, U.S.-Cuba relations, the United Nations debate leading up to the Iraq war, the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the Iran-contra scandal and the Three Mile Island nuclear incident, among others.

Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of NBC’s TODAY, said Mitchell’s work represents press freedom to the fullest extent.

“Andrea really embodies the best of our First Amendment principles,” Guthrie said. “She is all about fairness, accuracy. She embodies the values that we as journalists hold so dear.”

Mitchell continues to report on foreign affairs and anchors her own show on MSNBC, “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” In 2017, she established The Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy at her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, which offers research grants, fellowships and workshops to promote and understand democracy.

She graduated from Penn with a degree in English literature in 1967 before working as a broadcast journalist in Philadelphia until 1976. A few years later, Mitchell joined NBC as a general correspondent and is now the network’s chief foreign affairs correspondent.

“She got to the top of her field by being determined, prepared, the best, and by always fighting for what she believes in,” NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker said.

Welker, who’s known Mitchell for years, said the longtime reporter is an inspiration to female journalists everywhere.

“She literally helped to pave the way for an entire generation of women,” Welker said. “I’ve learned two critical lessons from Andrea: never give up and always be prepared.”

Woodruff, who is also on the Reporters Committee’s board, was a former NBC News White House Correspondent. She worked alongside Mitchell during this time, and credits Mitchell’s success to her tenaciousness.

“She sets an example that is really hard not to want to follow,” Woodruff said. “We all do better because of Andrea and because of reporters like Andrea — the people she sets an example for, the people she’s mentored who are following in her wake.”

The example Mitchell sets is especially important at a time when journalism is evolving.

“Never before have we needed journalists who are ready to turn over every stone, every rock, in order to get to the facts,” Woodruff said. “That’s what we need in American journalism today, and that defines Andrea Mitchell.”


The Reporters Committee will also present 2019 Freedom of the Press Awards to April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks and CNN political analyst; John Carreyrou, investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal; and David G. Bradley, chairman of Atlantic Media. The founders of City Bureau — Harry Backlund, Bettina Chang, Andrea Hart and Darryl Holliday — will also be recognized with the Reporters Committee’s second annual Rising Star Award.