Chandrasekaran, Sawyer, and Williams join CPJ board

New York, November 5, 2007–CPJ is pleased to welcome three leading journalists to its board of directors: Rajiv Chandrasekaran of The Washington Post, Diane Sawyer of ABC News, and Brian Williams of NBC News.

“We are delighted to welcome these three exceptional journalists to our board of directors,” said CPJ Board Chair Paul E. Steiger. “Each brings unique experiences and insights along with strongly held convictions about press freedom. Their presence on the board will strengthen our work protecting our colleagues around the world.”

Chandrasekaran, author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City, is national editor of The Washington Post. He formerly ran the Post’s Continuous News Department, channeling breaking news to the paper’s online news site. Chandrasekaran ran the Post’s bureau in Baghdad from 2003 to 2004, covering the American invasion of Iraq and the country’s occupation. His other foreign assignments include serving as Cairo bureau chief and Southeast Asia correspondent, and reporting on the war in Afghanistan. Chandrasekaran joined the Post in 1994. He has been the journalist in residence at the International Reporting Project at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, and a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center.

Sawyer joined ABC News in 1989 as the co-anchor of Primetime Live and was named co-anchor, with Charles Gibson, of Good Morning America in January 1999. She has interviewed world leaders and celebrities and has won awards for her investigative journalism. Sawyer has reported on stories ranging from biological weapons production in Russia to day care abuse to unsanitary conditions at the Food Lion chain of grocery stores. Sawyer’s international news coverage includes the coup attempt in Moscow in 1991, when she got an exclusive interview with Boris Yeltsin at the height of the crisis. She is also one of the few Western journalists to report from North Korea, where she uncovered new details of that country’s famine, returning to North Korea in 2006 to see what had changed. Before joining ABC News, Sawyer worked at CBS News where she was the first woman to ever co-anchor the newsmagazine program 60 Minutes.

Williams is the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News. His work covering Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath garnered numerous awards including an Emmy, a DuPont, four Edward R. Murrow Awards and a Peabody. Since joining NBC News in 1993, he has covered every major breaking news story and has traveled extensively around the world. He is a veteran of political campaigns and elections and has reported numerous times from the Middle East, including several trips to Iraq to cover the war.  Beginning in 1996, he was anchor and managing editor of The News with Brian Williams, a nightly news program broadcast on MSNBC and CNBC for seven years. Before becoming anchor of the weekday broadcast, Williams was chief White House correspondent for NBC News, and anchor and managing editor of the Saturday edition of NBC Nightly News for six years.

The board of directors recently created an advisory board that is open to longtime members of the board. Tom Brokaw, Erwin Potts, and John Seigenthaler, all of whom have served on the board for at least a decade, moved to the advisory board, where they will continue to have an active role in the organization.

“We are deeply indebted to Tom, Erwin, and John for their long service and deep commitment to our cause,” said Steiger. “We are pleased to have their continued involvement.” 

CPJ is a New York-based independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1981 to promote press freedom worldwide. CPJ is active in more than 120 countries. CPJ’s board represents a broad spectrum of U.S. and international journalism. Board members accompany staff members on missions, support efforts to win the release of imprisoned journalists around the world, and oversee the activities of the organization.

The other board members are: Andrew Alexander, Franz Allina, Christiane Amanpour, Terry Anderson, Dean Baquet, Sheila Coronel, Walter Cronkite, Josh Friedman, Anne Garrels, James C. Goodale, Cheryl Gould, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Gwen Ifill, Steven L. Isenberg, Jane Kramer, David Laventhol, Anthony Lewis, David Marash, Kati Marton, Michael Massing, Geraldine Fabrikant Metz, Victor Navasky, Andres Oppenheimer, Burl Osborne, Charles L. Overby, Clarence Page, Norman Pearlstine, Dan Rather, Gene Roberts, Sandra Mims Rowe, Paul C. Tash, Mark Whitaker, and Matt Winkler.