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Christiane Amanpour to receive 2019 Zenger Award

by Michael Gordon Chesnick
University of Arizona School of Journalism,

Outreach Coordinator

CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour, whose reporting on violence and human rights abuses in Iraq, Bosnia and Syria has earned her worldwide respect, has been named the 2019 winner of the Zenger Award for Press Freedom by the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

Amanpour will be honored Friday, Sept. 20, at a public reception and lunch at 11:30 a.m. at the Marriott University Park Hotel, 880 E. Second St.

Tax-deductible tickets ($100 each) or tables of 10 ($1,000 each) are available now through a secure UA Foundation site, with proceeds going toward student reporting projects and travel. 

UA School of Journalism Professor Mort Rosenblum, a former bureau chief and special correspondent for The Associated Press, will introduce Amanpour. He met her during the 1991 Gulf War on her first major international assignment for CNN. He also worked with her in the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.

“Since her insightful coverage of Desert Storm nearly three decades ago, Christiane has exemplified the gutsy, up-close reporting and thoughtful analysis that helps a wobbly world stay on course,” Rosenblum said. “She shows how news is not about grand events but rather the real people behind them.”

Started in 1954 by the UA journalism program, the John Peter and Catherine Anne Zenger Award honors those who have made extraordinary contributions to press freedom and the people’s right to know around the world. Past recipients include the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham; Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times; and Carmen Aristegui of CNN en Español.

“I’m proud to receive the Zenger award, named for a couple whose powerful partnership laid the foundation for press freedom in the nascent United States, a freedom that has been the envy of the world, and emulated with great sacrifice wherever possible,” Amanpour said. “This redoubles my struggle for the freedom, safety and independence of the press, the most vital pillar of any democracy.”

Amanpour, known for her tough interviewing style, is CNN’s chief international anchor of the network’s global affairs program “Amanpour,” which is based in London. An expanded show, “Amanpour & Co.,” also airs on PBS in the United States.

In Sarajevo in the early 1990s, she exposed the brutality of the Bosnian War and genocide committed against Muslims. In 2004, she reported exclusively from the courtroom at the trial of Saddam Hussein, where the former dictator was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity. In 2014, Amanpour broke the news of a dossier that alleged to show the torture of prisoners by government forces in Syria. She also interviewed embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro about his country’s violent demonstrations.

Amanpour has won 11 Emmy awards, four Peabody awards, two George Polk awards, three duPont-Columbia awards and the Courage in Journalism Award. She has used her profile to raise awareness of global issues and journalists’ rights and is a board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Centre for Public Integrity and the International Women’s Media Foundation.

She began at CNN in 1983 as an entry-level assistant on the international desk in Atlanta, after graduating summa cum laude from the University of Rhode Island with a B.A. in Journalism.

• Zenger tickets: Go to UA Foundation site.
• Click here to read more about the Zenger Award.

Reprint courtesy of University of Arizona School of Journalism