First Amendment Award

This award honors an outstanding individual or organization which champions the First Amendment and press freedoms.

CNN
Jeff Zucker, President, CNN Worldwide, accepting

Jeff Zucker

CNNLaunched in 1980, CNN is widely known to be the most trusted source for news and information. The CNN umbrella includes nine cable and satellite television networks, two radio networks, the CNN Digital Network, which is the top network of news Web sites in the United States, and CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service. In 2018, CNN was a target of multiple anti-First Amendment threats and terrorist incidents, including the delivery of explosive devices to their office in New York City and the revocation of White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials.

Acosta’s U.S. Secret Service “hard pass,” which granted him access as a member of the news media to the White House, was revoked hours after he asked tough questions during a presidential news conference. CNN filed a lawsuit seeking the restoration of the press credentials, arguing that that the president and five others – including Chief of Staff John Kelly and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders – violated Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and Fifth Amendment rights of due process. RTDNA and other press freedom groups voiced their support for CNN’s lawsuit, and more than a dozen major news organizations, including Fox News, filed a “friend of the court” brief advocating on behalf of CNN and Acosta. U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly ruled in favor of CNN and reinstating Acosta’s press credentials, upholding fundamental tenets of the U.S. Constitution and defending press freedom.


Jeff Zucker has been the president of CNN since 2013. He oversees all of CNN’s businesses, including the CNN US television network, CNN International, HLN, all of CNN’s digital properties, and Great Big Story.

Zucker has had one of the most storied careers in media. He took over the Today show at the age of 26 and re-invented the historic morning news program, went on to a 25-year career at NBC Universal, co-founded the online streaming service Hulu, and is currently leading a dramatic turnaround at CNN.

Prior to coming to CNN, Zucker spent more than two decades at NBC Universal, where he rose through the ranks to become the company’s president and CEO. He headed up the global media and entertainment company, which includes the NBC broadcast network, its news division and all of its cable properties (including MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo, Oxygen and Syfy), Universal Pictures and the Universal Theme Parks.

First Amendment Award

Updated on 2019-01-24T15:45:42+00:00, by firstawards.