Bernard Shaw Presents the Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism to Kate Blewett, Producer of The Carpet Slaves: Stolen Children Of India (Cinemax Reel Life)
Receives First Ever
|Barbara Walters presents the News and Documentary Lifetime Achievement Award to Betsey Arledge (l.) and Patty Arledge-Loonie (r.) on behalf of their fa ther, Roone Arledge.|
|New York - On the eve of the first anniversary
of the September 11 tragedies, the community of broadcast journalists paused
to celebrate the best in news and documentary programming.
On September 10 the 23rd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards were presented at a black tie gala at the Marriott Marquis hotel in New York. This year's host was veteran journalist and current CNN correspondent Garrick Utley. An impressive group of news professionals and newsmakers were on hand as presenters, including Bernard Shaw, Doctor Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, Senator Bill Bradley, Pat Mitchell, president of PBS, and Hugh Price, president of the Urban League. Also on hand was Barbara Walters, who delivered a heartfelt tribute to Roone Arledge. Arledge was presented with the first-ever News and Documentary Lifetime Achievement Award.
The subject of September 11 figured prominently in introductions, nominations and acceptance speeches. Accepting the award for Outstanding Feature Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast, for "The Friday Squad," CBS Evening News Weekend Edition producer Thomas Aviles paid tribute to his friend Glen Pettit. "I worked in news on Long Island for 2 years and Glen trained me," Aviles said, visibly holding back emotion. "He was one of the best photographers I ever knew. And he was one of the twenty-three police officers who passed away on September 11."
Among other 9/11-related stories that took home Emmys were: NBC Nightly News for their coverage of the liberation of Kabul; ABC World News Tonight for reports on the World Trade Center attack and the post-9/11 investigation; and CNN for "Struggle for Islam."
PBS, was the big winner of the evening, with fourteen Emmy awards. The network's P.O.V series, celebrating its fifteenth season as a showcase for independent non-fiction films, won four Emmys: "Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story" won for both directing and editing, and "Promises," a documentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, took home awards for background and analysis and best documentary.
"Promises" tells the story of 7 Israeli and Palestinian children living in Israel and the occupied territories. The film shows both how deeply the children have absorbed the attitudes of their elders, and how face-to-face encounters between them create the possibility of building bridges across political and religious lines. Goldberg, in accepting the award, expressed the hope that "somewhere in the future these two peoples will learn to live together. The big question," he said "is how much blood will flow until that happens."
CBS won seven Emmy's, including one for Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story--Long Form, for "Twist of Fate," broadcast on CBS News Sunday Morning. The piece told the very personal story of the aftermath of September 11 for those who survived and went on to search for lost loved ones. Executive Producer Rand Morrison accepted the award for "all of those who died," and offered, "·how I wish we were not standing here tonight. How I wish September 11 never happened."
The evening did have its lighter moments. PBS's "The Natural History of the Chicken," won for both science and nature programming and direction. The critically acclaimed film is a quirky look at chickens and their human companions. Producer Mark Lewis accepted the award and offered thanks to "the hotel for not serving rice and chicken."
The evening also highlighted the often dangerous lengths to which journalists will go to tell important stories. CNN Presents won for "Unholy War," which looks at the effect of the US bombing campaign on the lives of ordinary Afghanis. It was one of four awards that CNN garnered and one of two for the team fronted by reporter Saira Shah. Shah also won for her work on "Beneath the Veil," which looks at the condition of Afghani women under the Taliban. Shah thanked her producer James Miller who, she said, "walked with me over the Hindu Kush mountains and let me wear his socks when I had frost bite." The team's executive producer, David Henshaw, paid tribute to their dedication, adding, "·these two very nearly died making their way through those mountains and that's not an exaggeration!"
"The Carpet Slaves: Stolen Children of India," won two Emmys for research, and investigative journalism. The film, which focuses on one man's search for his missing son, took the team from Cinemax Reel Life to India and into the dark world of modern slavery. Producer Kate Blewitt sought to bring attention to the plight of the estimated twenty-seven million people around the world who live and work as slaves. She admitted to having doubts over the size of the project, but recalled the mantra behind the work of her team. "My partner Brian Woods," she said, "reminded me, if you think you're too small to make a difference, then you haven't been to bed with a mosquito·let that be a lesson to us all."
The highlight of the evening, however, was turned in by a man known for capturing them. Roone Arledge, chairman of ABC News, having already won thirty-six Emmys and nearly every other television award and honor in his fifty years in broadcasting, was given the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award in News and Documentary. The honor was presented by longtime friend and colleague Barbara Walters.
Arledge, the producer of ten Olympics, including the 1972 Munich Games, in which Palestinian terrorists killed eleven Israeli athletes, became a sports broadcasting legend with the innovations that he brought to ABC's Wide World of Sports and NFL Monday Night Football.
In 1977 Arledge took the helm at third-ranked ABC News and turned it into a leader in news programming. Under Arledge World News Tonight with Peter Jennings became America's leading evening news broadcast. In addition, Mr. Arledge pioneered the development of late-night news programming by creating Nightline, which grew out of the unprecedented nightly coverage of the 444-day Iran hostage crisis. He also helped set the standard for primetime news programming with the creation of the newsmagazines 20/20 and PrimeTime Live.
Walters emphasized Arledge's tremendous ability for scouting talent. Among the list of news professionals whose careers Arledge nurtured are: Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, Diane Sawyer, Sam Donaldson and Walters herself. "He changed my life," Walters said, "as he did so many people at ABC·He championed us. He nourished us and in some cases, he saved us." And on a film celebrating his remarkable life, Arledge was venerated by an impressive list of people including, President Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Walter Cronkite, Dennis Swanson and Mohammed Ali.
Arledge, who could not attend the ceremony due to illness, accepted the award from his home. "So here I am tonight," Arledge said, "a bit shaky in the legs, but grateful. Our business, all of broadcasting is in the middle of great change. We are at a beginning again and you don't know where that act of yours will lead you. Good luck, good timing and a furious amount of hard work will lead some people to win this award·and I plan to be in the audience clapping loudly when you do."