September 23, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Sept. 23, 2020) – Chris Wallace, the award-winning broadcast journalist, best-selling author and anchor of “Fox News Sunday,” will receive the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism at the Institute’s annual fundraising gala in November.

This prestigious award honors those whose journalism careers have made a significant impact on democracy and its institutions. Over five decades, Chris Wallace has built a career of journalistic accomplishment, marked by unrelenting reporting and tough-but-fair interviews that hold the powerful to account. Wallace’s election coverage, including a much-heralded interview this summer with President Donald Trump, and his selection by a bi-partisan commission to moderate the first presidential debate, reflects his deep relevance today. He also recently published “Countdown 1945” — a best-selling book about Harry Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb.

“We are honored to celebrate the outstanding career of Chris Wallace and the incredible vitality and honesty of his journalism. Chris’ record of balanced reporting across the years makes him among the most respected journalists in America today, even in these strikingly polarized times,” said Neil Brown, president of Poynter.

“Chris started in local news, which is near and dear to our hearts at Poynter, and his commitment to excellence continues as he prepares to moderate the first presidential debate next week,” Brown said. “We work hard at Poynter to support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. It’s hard to imagine a more fitting recipient of the Poynter award in 2020.”

This year marks more than a half century for Wallace in broadcast news. In that time, he has won nearly every major broadcast journalism award for his reporting, including three Emmy awards, the Dupont-Columbia Silver Baton, the Peabody Award and the Sol Taishoff Award for Broadcast Journalism from the National Press Foundation. Recently, Wallace was named as the recipient of the International Center for Journalists Founders Award for Excellence in Journalism for his unbiased and piercing approach to interviews.

Wallace joined Fox News in 2003 after working at ABC News as senior correspondent for “Primetime Thursday” and substitute host for “Nightline.” Prior to joining ABC News, Wallace served as NBC’s Chief White House correspondent from 1982-1989. During his tenure at NBC, he covered Democratic and Republican conventions and moderated “Meet the Press” from 1987-1988, making him the only person to have hosted two Sunday news talk shows. He also anchored the Sunday edition of NBC “Nightly News” from 1982-1984 and 1986-1987. Wallace began his career in local news at WNBC-TV (NBC 4) in New York and as a reporter at the Boston Globe. Wallace graduated from Harvard College.

“The Poynter Institute has been promoting and teaching solid journalism for almost half a century.  At a time when traditional standards of fairness and accuracy are being questioned — both in and outside the industry — Poynter is a keeper of the flame for our profession. I am proud to receive the Poynter Medal. My only quibble is about ‘Lifetime Achievement.’ I am just getting started,” said Wallace.

In the past, Poynter would honor the recipient in person. But the realities of a COVID-19 world, where journalism’s value has been so apparent and should be celebrated, require a different approach to our annual gala. Therefore, Poynter will present Wallace with the Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism through a special online celebration attended remotely by hundreds of Poynter and journalism supporters, friends, dignitaries and sponsors. The event will pay tribute to Wallace and include a conversation with him about journalism and its future, and feature special appearances by popular journalists, rare performances and poignant storytelling.  Poynter will also pay tribute to Wallace’s father, legendary journalist and longtime CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent Mike Wallace. The event is slated for after the Nov. 3 election. The day and time will be confirmed by Oct. 1. Please add your name here to be notified when tickets are available.

Previous recipients of the Poynter Medal are:

  • Katie Couric, broadcast journalist, best-selling author and media entrepreneur
  • Lester Holt, anchor of “NBC Nightly News” and “Dateline NBC”
  • Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour”
  • Tom Brokaw, former anchor of “NBC Nightly News”
  • Bob Schieffer, former CBS News anchor and host of “Face the Nation”

The Poynter Institute was founded more than 45 years ago by Nelson Poynter, then the owner and editor of the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times. Poynter created a school to train professional journalists and elevate the craft. Upon his death, in an exceptional act that ensured the independence of his beloved local paper, Poynter bequeathed ownership of the now Tampa Bay Times to the school.

Today, the institute still owns the paper while having grown into a nonprofit global leader in journalism education. Last year alone, Poynter trained tens of thousands of journalists, educators and students in person and online. Clients include NBC, Univision, ESPN, NPR, The Washington Post, National Geographic, Gannett and McClatchy newsrooms, and numerous local TV stations, community newspapers and digital news sites.

Poynter also operates three fact-checking enterprises: the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network, and a digital news literacy program called MediaWise that teaches teens, seniors and first-time voters to tell fact from fiction online. In addition, Poynter is the home of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at Poynter, a resource for journalists and citizens to navigate today’s complex media landscape.

The Poynter Medal was created to celebrate journalism and Poynter’s legacy.

Proceeds from the fundraising event support the work of the nonprofit Poynter Institute and our dedication to defend democracy, seek the truth and elevate journalism for those who create and consume it.

To sponsor the fundraising event honoring Chris Wallace, please contact Wendy Wallace (no relation), director of advancement, at wwallace@poynter.org for details.

Tickets to attend the gala celebrating journalism and honoring Chris Wallace will be available on Oct. 1. 

About The Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st-century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, and at newsrooms, conferences and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum, with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered international users. The Institute’s website produces 24-hour coverage about media, ethics, technology and the business of news. Poynter is the home of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network and MediaWise, a digital information literacy project for young people, first-time voters and senior citizens. The world’s top journalists and media innovators rely on Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcasters. This work builds public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and discourse that serves democracy and the public good. Learn more at poynter.org.

CONTACT:

Tina Dyakon
Director of Marketing
The Poynter Institute
tdyakon@poynter.org

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