Winner 1997

Richard Rodriguez Essays (on American Life)

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Arlington, Virginia, PBS

Richard Rodriguez Essays presented on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer are a distinguished addition to an already impressive body of work by one of America’s most respected journalists. Mr. Rodriquez has served as editor for the Pacific News Service, and is a contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, and the Sunday “Opinion” section of the Los Angeles Times. Essays on American Life have become one of the hallmarks of the The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and have previously earned recognition with a Peabody Award for Roger Rosenblatt. The form of the visual essay allows for a rare commodity on television: reflective, thoughtful and thought-provoking examinations of ourselves and our society. In his essays, Mr. Rodriguez confronts the camera, and converses directly with the viewer, thereby drawing us into the unique slices of American life that comprise his subjects. Among the topics for his unique insights in 1997 were clever reflections about the cult of camera and celebrity in the wake of the tragedy of Princess Diana, and the relationships between race, class and success in our culture. His distinctive prose and unique style of delivery are superbly paired with the visual imagery developed with the trained eye of senior producer Michael Saltz. For offering us an intimate look into how we live, and for using television as a vital means for stimulating thought and opinion, a Peabody to Richard Rodriguez Essays.