Barbara Walters Accepts Park School Journalism Award

Renowned broadcast journalist Barbara Walters received the Roy H. Park School of Communications Jessica Savitch Award of Distinction for Excellence in Journalism in New York City this March.

Like the woman for whom the award is named, Walters has been a trailblazer for women in television broadcasting, in 1974 as the first female cohost of NBC’s Today show and later as the first woman to cohost the ABC Evening News. Since then, she has conducted many high-profile interviews of some of the world’s most notable figures and celebrities.

IC alumnus and previous recipient of the award, David Muir ’95 introduced Walters at the event, listing her many professional accolades and adding his appreciation of her mentorship when he started at ABC.

Walters, too, spoke of the importance of mentoring younger generations in her acceptance speech. She shared some of her wisdom with audience members, which included IC students, emphasizing the importance of the first interview question, as it sets the tone for the entire interview, and stressing the richness of information an interviewer can elicit when asking subjects about their childhood.

The award is named for Jessica Savitch ’68, who had also been a pioneering female journalist. An Emmy winner, Savitch joined NBC News as a Washington-based correspondent and anchor in 1977 and hosted the PBS documentary series Frontline. Savitch passed away unexpectedly in an automobile accident in 1983.

In attributing her success in broadcasting, Walters said, “It’s not any particular interview I did, though that’s nice. It’s that maybe I made it easier f or the next woman. That is my legacy, and it is also Jessica’s.”