Institutional Award: Nightline
ABC News, New York
It began with a different anchor and a different title on November 8, 1979, four days after the seizure of the American Embassy in Teheran. The pictures were startling and disturbing, the issues unclear, Frank Reynolds introduced television audiences across America and the world to The Iran Crisis: America Held Hostage. Five months later the program became Nightline, and Ted Koppel became the permanent anchor. Since that date, Nightline has become synonymous with extended news programming, providing in-depth coverage of breaking stories, continuing social and cultural issues, political conflict, and impending controversy. Koppel has hosted the rich and the famous, the powerful and the poor. He has brought decision makers onto the program and pushed for explanations of actions taken and not taken. He has interviewed those who would be president and those who were. In a time when information seems ever more condensed and categories such as news and entertainment more densely blurred, Nightline has kept the lines open and clear. Even interviews with frogs and bears (Kermit and Fozzie) are focused on what makes them culturally significant and interesting without assuming they could replace matters more truly significant. This clarity results from efforts of Executive Producers Tom Bettag and Leroy Sievers, Senior Producers Richard Harris and Sara Just, Senior Booking Producer Dianna Pierce, Correspondents John Donvan, Dave Marsh, and Michel Martin, and Correspondent/Substitute Anchor Chris Bury. Behind and before the camera, this is one of the most truly professional teams in television news. For maintaing exceptionally high quality in all its endeavors for more than 20 years, a Peabody Award goes to Nightline.