IPFA 2005 – Peter Jennings

International Press Freedom Awards

Burton Benjamin Memorial Award

CPJ will also honor the late Peter Jennings, anchor and senior editor of ABC’s “World News Tonight.” Jennings’ career was intertwined with the major events of the past four decades. He reported on the building of the Berlin wall in the 1960s and its demolition in 1989. He established the first American television news bureau in the Arab world in 1968 and drew on his knowledge of the region to inform his reporting in both Iraq wars. He reported on the civil rights movement in the U.S. South during the 1960s and the struggle for equality in South Africa in the 1970s.

Jennings was one of the first reporters to go to Vietnam in the 1960s, and he reported from Bosnia in the 1990s. He was on the scene when the independent political movement Solidarity was born in a Polish shipyard, and he was in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania, and the Soviet Union to record the fall of communism.

In the week following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Jennings anchored more than 60 hours of news coverage, providing a reliable and reassuring voice during a time of crisis. He also earned a reputation for raising complex issues. His special series, “Peter Jennings Reporting,” focused on vital international affairs such as the tense relations between India and Pakistan, the crisis in Haiti, and the drug trade in Central and South America. He also tackled important domestic issues such as abortion, gun control, and health care.

Jennings was named anchor and senior editor of “World News Tonight” in 1983. In more than 20 years in that position, he was honored with almost every major award given to television journalists.

The Burton Benjamin Memorial Award is given for a lifetime of distinguished achievement in the cause of press freedom. It is named in honor of the late CBS News senior producer and former CPJ chairman who died in 1988.