WOLF BLITZER – 2013 RECIPIENT OF THE URBINO PRESS AWARD
Wolf Blitzer is CNN’s lead political anchor and the anchor of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s fast-paced, political news program that provides up-to-the minute coverage of the day’s events. The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer airs every weekday and in an abbreviated format on Saturday evenings. The program celebrated its seven-year anniversary in August 2012. Blitzer has been with the network for more than 20 years.
In the 2012 election season, Blitzer has moderated three CNN Republican presidential debates. In September 2011, Blitzer moderated the first-of-its-kind CNN-Tea Party debate in Tampa, Florida. In November 2011, he moderated a debate on national security, foreign policy and the economy in Washington D.C. In January 2012, Blitzer moderated the last debate in Jacksonville, Florida before that state’s highly-anticipated primary. Furthermore, Blitzer has lead CNN’s election coverage throughout America’s Choice 2012, serving as lead anchor on key primary and caucus nights.
During the 2008 presidential election, Blitzer spearheaded CNN’s Peabody Award-winning coverage of the presidential primary debates and campaigns. He also anchored coverage surrounding all of the major political events, including both conventions, Election Night and the full-day of President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Blitzer interviewed all of the major candidates at some point during the 2008 presidential election cycle, including then-Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. Blitzer led CNN’s Emmy-winning “America Votes 2006” coverage and “America Votes 2004.” During the 2004 election cycle, Blitzer anchored events including the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, the Democratic and Republican national conventions, election night from NASDAQ in Times Square and President George W. Bush’s second inauguration.
In addition to politics, Blitzer is also known for his in-depth reporting on international news. Most recently, Blitzer traveled to NATO headquarters in Brussels for an exclusive joint interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on the latest in global foreign policy issues. In December 2010, he was granted rare access to travel to North Korea with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as the world watched tensions mount between North and South Korea. Blitzer was the only network journalist in the governor’s delegation. While in-country, he took viewers inside the communist, totalitarian regime with footage and reports from the rarely-seen streets of Pyongyang, government meetings and Kim II-sung University.
Blitzer reported from Israel in the midst of the war between that country and Hezbollah during the summer of 2006. In 2005, he was the only American news anchor to cover the Dubai Ports World story on the ground in the United Arab Emirates. He also traveled to the Middle East that year to report on the second anniversary of the war in Iraq. In 2003, Blitzer reported on the Iraq war from the Persian Gulf region.
Blitzer also served as the anchor of Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer for more than a decade. The Sunday public affairs program, which was seen in more than 200 countries around the world, featured interviews with presidents and heads of state, politicians, candidates and observers.
Blitzer began his career in 1972 with the Reuters News Agency in Tel Aviv. Shortly thereafter, he became a Washington, D.C., correspondent for The Jerusalem Post. After more than 15 years of reporting from the nation’s capital, Blitzer joined CNN in 1990 as the network’s military-affairs correspondent at the Pentagon. He served as CNN’s senior White House correspondent covering President Bill Clinton from his election in November 1992 until 1999.
Over the decades, Blitzer has reported on a wide range of major breaking stories around the world that have shaped the international political landscape. In 1982, Blitzer was in Beirut during the withdrawal of PLO and Syrian forces. Blitzer covered the first Israeli-Egyptian peace conference in Egypt in 1977, and, in 1979, he traveled with then-President Jimmy Carter on visits to Egypt and Israel for the final round of negotiations that resulted in the signing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. He was onsite in 1973 when West German Chancellor Willy Brandt visited Israel, the first visit by a German chancellor since the Holocaust. In August 1991, Blitzer flew to Moscow shortly after the failed coup.
He was among the first Western reporters invited into KGB headquarters for a rare inside look into the Soviet intelligence apparatus. He returned to Moscow in December 1991 to cover the collapse of the Soviet Union and the transition from Mikhail Gorbachev to Boris Yeltsin.
Throughout his career, Blitzer has interviewed some of history’s most notable figures, including President Barack Obama, former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Blitzer has also interviewed many foreign leaders— the Dalai Lama, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former South African President Nelson Mandela, among them.
Among the numerous honors he has received for his reporting, Blitzer is the recipient of an Emmy Award from The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his 1996 coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing and a Golden CableACE from the National Academy of Cable Programming for his and CNN’s coverage of the Persian Gulf War. He anchored CNN’s Emmy-award winning live coverage of the 2006 Election Day. He was also among the teams awarded a George Foster Peabody award for Hurricane Katrina coverage; an Alfred I. duPont Award for coverage of the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia; and an Edward R. Murrow Award for CNN’s coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. He is the recipient of the 2004 Journalist Pillar of Justice Award from the Respect for Law Alliance and the 2003 Daniel Pearl Award from the Chicago Press Veterans Association.
In 2011, Blitzer received the distinguished Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award from The Radio-Television Digital News Foundation and The Panetta Institute for Public Policy’s Jefferson-Lincoln Award. In 2002, the American Veteran Awards honored him with the prestigious Ernie Pyle Journalism Award for excellence in military reporting, and, in February 2000, he received the Anti-Defamation League’s Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize. In 1999, Blitzer won the International Platform Association’s Lowell Thomas Broadcast Journalism Award for outstanding contributions to broadcast journalism. In 1994, American Journalism Review cited him and CNN as the overwhelming choice of readers for the coveted Best in the Business Award for “best network coverage of the Clinton administration.”
Blitzer is the author of two books, Between Washington and Jerusalem: A Reporter’s Notebook (Oxford University Press, 1985) and Territory of Lies (Harper and Row, 1989). The latter was cited by The New York Times Book Review as one of the most notable books of 1989. He also has written articles for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.
He earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a master of arts degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Blitzer has honorary degrees from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; State University of New York at Buffalo; King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Gannon University in Erie, Pa.; Quinnipiac College in New Haven, Conn; St. Louis University, in St. Louis, Mo.; Western New England College in Springfield, Mass; D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y.; Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.; The Catholic University in Washington, D.C.; St. Bonaventure in St. Bonaventure, NY; The Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pa.; University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT; and Niagara University in Buffalo, NY..