Feb 17, 2016
Award To Be Presented by the Newseum Institute June 21
WASHINGTON — Veteran ESPN sports broadcaster Chris Berman is the recipient of the 2016 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media, to be presented June 21 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Berman, who joined the startup sports cable network in 1979, has served as host on a variety of ESPN studio shows, including “SportsCenter,” “Sunday NFL Countdown,” “NFL PrimeTime” and “Baseball Tonight.” He has covered 34 Super Bowls, 30 MLB All-Star Games and Home Run Derbys, and 29 World Series. The host of ESPN’s NFL Draft telecast since 1987, Berman has served as emcee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony 16 times. He also covered golf’s U.S. Open for 29 years, serving as both host and play-by-play announcer from 2003 to 2014.
The award is named for the late USA Today and Freedom Forum/Newseum founder Al Neuharth, and is co-sponsored by the University of South Dakota. Neuharth, a South Dakota native, was a 1950 graduate of USD, which is home to the Al Neuharth Media Center. Berman will be the 30th person to receive the Award for Excellence, which honors lifetime achievement, since the first presentation to legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite. Berman is the first sports journalist to receive the honor.
“Chris Berman is recognized throughout the nation for the innovation, enthusiasm, depth and emphasis on excellence in sports broadcasting that marked his work and ESPN from the beginning,” said Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute, which presents the award. “Both USA Today and ESPN were in their infancy in the early 1980s, and both became trendsetters in their respective fields by challenging conventional thinking about sports coverage and journalism.”
The award will be presented during the weeklong Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, an annual symposium at the Newseum for 51 of the nation’s top high school students with an interest in journalism as a career.
The Freedom Forum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. The Institute includes the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, the Newseum’s education department and diversity and inclusion programs. The Freedom Forum Institute’s affiliate organizations include the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. The Freedom Forum Institute is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including its principal funder, the Freedom Forum.
Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 206 undergraduate and 66 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.
ESPN, the world’s leading sports entertainment company, features more than 50 assets — eight U.S. television networks, ESPN International, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine and more. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by The Hearst Corporation.