60 MINUTES LEGEND
More than 50 years after joining CBS News, Don Hewitt continues to influence television journalism, much as he did when he helped develop many of its methods for reporting news, beginning in 1948. His pioneering work in producing and directing many of the broadcasts of the world’s major news events during television’s infancy provided a blueprint that news producers still rely on today. But Don Hewitt is best known and most respected for another innovation, 60 MINUTES, the groundbreaking news broadcast he created in 1968. In his new book, Tell Me a Story: Fifty Years and 60 MINUTES in Television (PublicAffairs, April 2001), Hewitt chronicles his life as a newsman, from World War II correspondent to the beginning of television to the triumphs and controversies of 60 MINUTES, the most-watched news broadcast in television history.
60 MINUTES, in its 35th season, finished the 2001-02 season as the Number One news magazine. Don Hewitt is credited with creating the news magazine format, a successful and much-copied style of news broadcast for which 60 MINUTES was the prototype. For this innovation and for his years of leadership on 60 MINUTES, he was awarded the Founders Emmy by the International Council of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1995. When presenting this award to Don Hewitt, then-ABC News President Roone Arledge said: “His real monument is 60 MINUTES. He is truly an innovator in this business. I still believe Don deserves the credit for it [the idea of the news magazine format]; it is an innovative format no one had done before. It’s been copied all over the world, including several times by us. He’s been a leader in our industry. He has inspired all sorts of people.”
Don Hewitt has been the recipient of numerous other honors, the most recent of which were the Director’s Guild Association Honor for contributions to American culture received in June 2002, the 2001 Carr Van Anda Award for his contribution to journalism, bestowed by the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and the 2000 Fred Friendly First Amendment Award from Quinnipiac College. In 1999, he was honored with the Spirit of Liberty Award from the People for the American Way Foundation. A few weeks earlier, the Committee to Protect Journalists awarded him its 1999 Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for “a lifetime of distinguished achievement in the cause of press freedom.” His other prizes include eight Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards and the 1980 Broadcaster of the Year Award from the International Radio and Television Society. Hewitt was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1992, he won the Lowell Thomas Centennial Award, presented by Marist College, and the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Journalism, presented by the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, a prize he shared with Bob Woodward of The Washington Post.
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