First Amendment Service Award  

This award honors professionals in local or network news who work in an off-air, management, largely behind-the-scenes capacity.

Robert (Bob) Horner, NBC News

The creator of NBC News Channel, the feed service for local NBC affiliates and NBC’s international partners, Bob Horner served as President for 27 years and made it possible for countless stories to be shared across the U.S. and the world.

I was born in Washington, D.C. in 1948 and grew up in nearby Northern Virginia.  I graduated from high school there in 1966.  I received my Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri in 1970.

Robert Horner

I was drafted and served in the U.S. Army from 1970 through 1972, including service in Korea. I went on to receive my master’s degree in communications from American University in 1973.

Through the remainder of the 1970s I worked as a news director and executive producer at local stations in Wyoming, Michigan and Alabama.

Through most of the 1980s I worked for CBS News, first as a manager in the Atlanta bureau, and then as Vice President of News Services based in New York.

I left CBS News with the intention of being a self-employed consultant.  However, NBC News soon became a client and subsequently asked me to join the staff to start a new service I had proposed as part of my consulting project.

I became the President of the NBC News Channel in 1990.  The service launched on January 1,  1991.  I served in that capacity until I retired on July 1, 2017.

I was married for 45 years to Jeanee von Essen, who died in 2016.  She also had a long career in journalism, including newspapers, radio, CNN, and NBC News.

We have one son, Hugh.  He and his partner Lynn have a daughter Ruby, who is 10 years old.  They live in the beautiful Hudson River Valley of New York.  My sister Margaret is retired and living near Wilmington N.C., and my brother Tom lives in Alexandria. I spend my time hiking, fly-fishing, and playing traditional music on various stringed instruments in jam sessions in North Carolina and Virginia.  I also spend time on genealogy, and in supporting community organizations in Charlotte as a volunteer and in other ways.

First Amendment Service Award

Updated on 2020-03-19T13:56:23+00:00, by firstawards.