Margaret Carlson - 2003 Recipient
Margaret Carlson was named a columnist for TIME magazine in February 1994. Her column, “Public Eye,” makes Carlson the first woman columnist in the magazine’s 78-year history. Prior to that, Carlson served as the magazine’s deputy Washington bureau chief and as a White House correspondent. In addition to her duties at the magazine, she serves as a panelist on CNN’s political programs “Inside Politics” and “The Capital Gang.”
In addition to covering Campaign 2000, during which she spent time with both Al Gore and George W. Bush, Carlson has covered the last four presidential elections. In her column, she has regularly commented on cultural and political issues, including President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, the campaign finance scandals, the state of feminism, and education issues.
Carlson joined TIME in January 1988 from the New Republic, where she was managing editor. Her journalism career has included stints as Washington bureau chief for Esquire magazine, editor of Washington Weekly, and editor of the Legal Times of Washington.
Carlson earned a law degree from George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. She completed her undergraduate work at Penn State University, where she majored in English. She has one daughter and lives in Washington, D.C.
Cokie Roberts - 2002 Recipient
Cokie Roberts was the ABC News chief congressional analyst and co-anchor of "This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts." In addition to being the co-anchor of the ABC News Sunday morning broadcast, "This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts," Roberts covered politics, Congress and public policy, reporting for "World News Tonight" and other ABC News broadcasts.
Roberts also serves as a news analyst for National Public Radio, where she was the congressional correspondent for more than 10 years. In that time, she won numerous awards, including the highest honor in public radio, the Edward R. Murrow Award. She was also the first broadcast journalist to win the highly prestigious Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for coverage of Congress and is the recipient of numerous other broadcasting awards, including an Emmy.
Before joining ABC News in 1988, Roberts was a contributor to PBS-TV’s "MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour." Her coverage of the Iran/Contra affair for that program won her the Weintal Award in 1987. Prior to joining NPR, Roberts was a reporter for CBS News in Athens, Greece. She also produced and hosted a public affairs program on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.
Jim Lehrer - 2000 Recipient
Jim Lehrer is the executive editor and anchor for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Lehrer began his career as a newspaper reporter for the Dallas Morning News and then the Dallas Times-Herald. His newspaper career led him to public television, where he began his association with Robert MacNeil. In 1975, the half-hour Robert MacNeil Report premiered with Lehrer as the Washington correspondent. Over the next seven years, The MacNeil/Lehrer Report (as it was renamed in 1976) won more than 30 awards for journalistic excellence. In September of 1983, Lehrer and MacNeil launched their most ambitious undertaking, The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. MacNeil departed from the program in 1995 and it now continues as The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
Lehrer has been honored with numerous awards for journalism. He recently received the 1999 National Humanities Medal, presented by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Also in 1999, Lehrer was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame and into the Silver Circle of the Washington, DC, Chapter of The National Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received two Emmys, the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, the George Foster Peabody Broadcast Award, the William Allen White Foundation Award for Journalistic Merit and the University of Missouri School of Journalism’s Medal of Honor.
In the last three presidential elections, Lehrer has served as a moderator for six of the nationally televised debates. He is also the author of eleven novels, two memoirs and three plays.
Lesley Stahl - 1999 Recipient
Lesley Stahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and a co-editor of the television program "60 MINUTES." Prior to joining 60 MINUTES, Lesley was the CBS News White House correspondent during the Carter and Reagan administrations, and became the chief White House correspondent during the Bush presidency. Those Washington experiences became the subject of her recently published first book, "Reporting Live."
Lesley Stahl has interviewed such newsmakers as Margaret Thatcher, Boris Yeltsin and Yasir Arafat. She has covered stories ranging from Watergate to the 1981 attempt on President Ronald Reagan's life. Before joining 60 MINUTES, Lesley had reported on every U.S.-Soviet summit meeting since 1978, every economic summit since 1979 and every national political convention and election night since 1974.
In addition to having won several Emmy Awards, Lesley has received the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia College Journalism Award, the Matrix Award for broadcasting presented by New York Women in Communications, Inc., and the prestigious Dennis Kauff Journalism Award for lifetime achievement in the news profession. She has also been recognized by the Radio and Television News Directors Association with an Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in Television.
Born in Swampscott, Massachusetts, Lesley Stahl graduated cum laude from Wheaton College in 1963 and now serves on its board of trustees. She and her husband, author Aaron Latham, reside in New York, and their daughter, Taylor, just graduated from college.
Joan Ganz Cooney - 1998 Recipient
The visionary creator of Sesame Street, Joan Ganz Cooney, was the first recipient of the Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Medallion of Excellence in the Field of Mass Communication. Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education, but with little interest in teaching, Joan pursued a career in journalism. After a couple of years working as a reporter, writer and publicity director, her career path was cemented.
Joan Ganz Cooney In 1966, Joan began conversations with the Carnegie Corporation, regarding the use of television to educate large numbers of preschoolers. After more than two years of research and development, the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) and Sesame Street, one of the most innovative children’s shows ever, were founded.
Sesame Street premiered in late 1969 and by the end of the first season, the show was attracting an audience of seven million preschoolers. Today, Sesame Street reaches an estimated 235 million viewers each week in more than 85 countries. In the United States, the series is broadcast by some 300 stations.
Joan and CTW also created several other educational shows geared toward children such as The Electric Company and Big Bag. Children’s Television Workshop programs have been awarded 70 Emmys.
She is a trustee for several organizations, a director on corporate boards and has been a member of the President’s Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties and the President’s Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse. In 1989 she received a Daytime Emmy for Lifetime Achievement and in 1990 was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Most recently, Joan Ganz Cooney was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.