Barbara Cochran to receive UGA’s DiGamma top award

Barbara Cochran to receive UGA’s DiGamma Kappa top award

Athens, Ga. – Media expert and electronic journalism leader Barbara Cochran will receive DiGamma Kappa’s 2008 Distinguished Achievement Award in Broadcasting during a ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The 7 p.m. ceremony will be hosted by the University of Georgia’s DiGamma Kappa student broadcasting society, in conjunction with the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Following presentation of the award, Cochran will provide brief remarks to the group of students and professionals.

Cochran has been president of Radio-Television News Directors Association and Radio and Television News Directors Foundation since 1997. RTNDA is the world’s largest professional organization devoted to electronic journalism, representing local and network news executives in broadcasting, cable and other electronic media in more than 30 countries. RTNDF promotes excellence in electronic journalism through research, education and training for news professionals and journalism students.

Cochran is a leading advocate for First Amendment rights. She has been at the forefront of the major issues facing electronic journalists, including fighting for cameras and microphones in state and federal courtrooms, protecting journalists’ access in post-9/11 America, opposing government secrecy and battling intrusive regulation of news content. She has led RTNDA’s sponsorship of Sunshine Week, an annual campaign to raise public awareness of the importance of open government.

She is also a leading proponent for diversity in the newsroom and in news coverage. With UNITY: Journalists of Color, she convened a diversity summit in 2004 that brought together industry leaders in a frank conversation.

Cochran frequently speaks on topics such as First Amendment rights, the Freedom of Information Act, cameras and microphones in the courtroom, broadcast standards and media ethics. She has been interviewed as a media expert on television and radio programs, including CNN’s Reliable Sources, CBS, NBC, ABC, C-Span, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Court TV and National Public Radio.

An industry insider, Cochran worked as a journalist and news executive in Washington, D.C., for 28 years, 11 in print and 17 in broadcasting. Before joining RTNDA/F, she had served as vice president and Washington bureau chief of CBS News; executive producer of NBC’s Meet the Press; vice president of news for National Public Radio; and managing editor of the Washington Star.

She has been recognized for her efforts on behalf of electronic journalism with the Media Institute’s Freedom of Speech Award and the American Women in Radio and Television Award for Allied Services. During her tenure, RTNDA received the University of Missouri’s Honor Award.

An active member of professional organizations, Cochran serves on the board of visitors of the University of Maryland College of Journalism, the advisory committee of the Newseum, and the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. She serves on the board of the Peabody Awards and was a juror for the DuPont Columbia Awards for nine years. She was a founding member of the board of directors of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Cochran has a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York and a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. She and her husband, John Cochran, senior correspondent for ABC News, live in Washington, D.C.

Cochran is the 35th annual recipient of the DGK Distinguished Achievement Award in Broadcasting. She joins previous recipients such as Ed Bradley, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Barbara Walters, Charles Kuralt, Ted Turner, Linda Ellerbee, Brian Ross and Bernard Shaw.

DiGamma Kappa is the nation’s oldest professional broadcasting society for students and was founded at UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1939.

Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers seven undergraduate majors including advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see www.grady.uga.edu.