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Jane Pauley named 2007 Cronkite Award winner


June 25, 2007

Jane Pauley, the long-time popular anchor of NBC’s “Today” show and founding co-host of “Dateline NBC,” will be this year’s recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Pauley will receive the award, given annually by ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, at a luncheon ceremony Nov. 12 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

“I have long been a great admirer of Jane Pauley, whose career embodies the very essence of this award,” Cronkite says. “She is an award-winning journalist and journalism pioneer. Her standard of excellence as a news anchor and her in-depth interviews have earned her the respect of colleagues with whom she’s worked – and those of us who wish we had.”

She is the 25th recipient of the award. Past winners include television executives Ted Turner, Roone Arledge, William Paley and Frank Stanton; publishers Al Neuharth, Katharine Graham, Otis Chandler and Malcolm Forbes; TV journalists Tom Brokaw, Bill Moyers, Bernard Shaw and Don Hewitt; and newspaper journalists Bob Woodward, Ben Bradlee, Helen Thomas and George Will.

“What an honor to receive an award that bears the name Walter Cronkite,” Pauley says. “When I was just starting out in broadcast journalism, that name – more than any other – was synonymous with a passion for the truth, authoritative reporting and bedrock integrity. It still is.”

The Indiana University political science graduate began her career as a TV reporter in Indianapolis in 1972, and within three years she became the first female evening news anchor at WMAQ in Chicago.

From 1976 to 1990, she was co-host of “The Today Show,” helping to launch it into first place in the morning news show ratings. Her co-hosts were Brokaw, last year’s Cronkite Award recipient, and later Bryant Gumbel.

Pauley also anchored the weekend edition of “NBC Nightly News,” appeared as a regular substitute for Brokaw on the “NBC Nightly News” and served as host for “Time and Again” – a retrospective news program on MSNBC – as well as a weekly newsmagazine, “Real Life with Jane Pauley.”

For more than a decade, Pauley anchored “Dateline NBC” with co-host Stone Phillips, appearing as many as four nights a week on the NBC primetime schedule. Pauley's Dateline farewell, “Jane Pauley: Signing Off,” attracted record ratings. In 2004, she returned to television with “The Jane Pauley Show.”

Pauley, a member of the Broadcast and Cable Hall of Fame, has been honored with multiple Emmy Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award for outstanding achievement, the Radio and Television News Directors Association's Paul White Award for lifetime contribution to electronic journalism, the Gracie Allen Award for outstanding achievement by an individual from American Women in Radio and Television, and the first international Matrix Award from the Association for Women in Communication.

She is recognized as a powerful advocate in the field of mental health. In her memoir, the New York Times’ best seller “Skywriting: a Life out of the Blue,” Pauley wrote candidly about being diagnosed with mental illness at the age of 50, after medical treatment for hives triggered a previously unrecognized vulnerability to bipolar depression.

Pauley is a member of the Leadership Board of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. She is also a member of the advisory board of the International Council of Freedom from Hunger and chairman of the advisory board of the Children’s Health Fund.

“We are thrilled Jane Pauley is the 2007 recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism,” says Christopher Callahan the Cronkite School’s dean. “Ms. Pauley’s extraordinary career has touched millions of Americans over the years, and she has served as a wonderful role model to countless young women seeking careers in TV news.”