Free Expression Awards

Free Expression Awards

Founding Mothers of NPR

Clockwise from top left, Susan Stamberg, Nina Totenberg, the late Cokie Roberts and Linda Wertheimer.

Susan Stamberg, Nina Totenberg, Linda Wertheimer and the late Cokie Roberts

Founding Mothers of NPR

Lifetime Achievement Award

Susan Stamberg
NPR special correspondent

Susan Stamberg is the first woman to anchor a national nightly news program and has won every major award in broadcasting. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Radio Hall of Fame. An NPR “founding mother,” Stamberg has been on staff since the network began in 1971.

Beginning in 1972, Stamberg served as co-host of NPR’s award-winning newsmagazine “All Things Considered” for 14 years. She then hosted “Weekend Edition Sunday” and now reports on cultural issues for “Morning Edition” and “Weekend Edition Saturday” as a special correspondent.

One of the most popular broadcasters in public radio, Stamberg is well known for her conversational style, intelligence and knack for finding an interesting story.

In addition to her hall of fame inductions, other recognitions include the Armstrong and Alfred I. duPont- Columbia University awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ohio State University’s Golden Anniversary Director’s Award and the Distinguished Broadcaster Award from the American Women in Radio and Television.

Nina Totenberg
NPR legal affairs correspondent

Nina Totenberg is NPR’s award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR’s critically acclaimed newsmagazines “All Things Considered,” “Morning Edition” and “Weekend Edition.”

She has reported on the U.S. Supreme Court for more than 40 years and notably broke the story about Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Totenberg has won every major journalism award in broadcasting and holds the distinction of being the first radio journalist to have won the National Press Foundation’s “Broadcaster of the Year” award.

Linda Wertheimer
NPR senior national correspondent

Linda Wertheimer is an NPR award-winning national correspondent. She travels the country and the globe for NPR News, bringing her unique insights and wealth of experience to bear on the day’s top news stories.

A respected leader in media and a beloved figure to listeners who have followed her three-decade-long NPR career, Wertheimer is the first woman to anchor network coverage of a presidential nomination convention and of election night. She is also the first person to broadcast live from inside the U.S. Senate chamber.

She joined NPR at the network’s inception and served as the first director of “All Things Considered,” starting with its debut on May 3, 1971. In the nearly 50 years since, she has served NPR in a variety of roles including reporter and host.

Wertheimer has received numerous journalism awards, including awards from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the American Legion and the Alfred I. duPont- Columbia University Award.

Cokie Roberts

Cokie Roberts was a trailblazing reporter and commentator for ABC News and NPR at a time when women’s voices were rare on the politics beat. During more than 50 years in broadcasting, she won countless awards, including three Emmys. She was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting.

In addition to her reporting, Roberts wrote six New York Times bestsellers, most dealing with the roles of women in U.S. history. In 2008, the Library of Congress named her a “Living Legend,” one of the very few Americans to have attained that honor.

Roberts died in 2019.