Chief White House Correspondent, Hallie Jackson, recently received the Allen B. DuMont Broadcaster of the Year Award for her journalistic accomplishments; following in the footsteps of her highly acclaimed colleagues at NBC, including “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt and meteorologist Janice Huff.
On Thursday, Nov. 21, Jackson was presented the award, dubbed as the School of Communication and Media’s (SCM) “Stanley Cup” by retired associate professor Marc Rosenweig and director of the School of Communication and Media, Dr. Keith Strudler.
The award, which has been given out annually since 1983, is named after Allen B. Dumont, a groundbreaking engineer in the early years of television.
According to Rosenweig, “[This award] honors professionals for their distinguished accomplishments in the media industry. Their names are inscribed on the award which resides in our school.”
— NBC News PR (@NBCNewsPR) November 22, 2019
Rosenweig then turned it over to Strudler, who introduced Jackson as this year’s recipient.
When Jackson took the podium, she brought up a moment not of triumph but of vulnerability; particularly, a panic attack that happened at the beginning of her career. She told this story to let future journalists know that it is normal to feel overwhelmed in the industry, but to not let it kill their spirit.
“It can sometimes feel like the weight of the world is literally on your shoulders,” Jackson said. “Remember that it’s not, but remember you have a professional obligation to do the best you can every day.”
Following Jackson’s acceptance speech was a Q&A session accompanied by Strudler, with questions ranging from Jackson’s own personal challenges in the industry to the current dynamic between journalists and politicians from the eye of a White House correspondent.
Strudler identified the trend of “fake news” on the rise, and Jackson responded by emphasizing the pressure journalists face more than ever to be perfect in their craft.
“You have to cross every ‘T’ and dot every ‘I’,” Jackson said. “You are bearing the weight of the responsibility, you have to get it right every time.”
Jackson also mentioned that “no president has ever loved their coverage,” and not everyone can agree on everything, but that should not deter a journalist from presenting the facts.
“It is the political journalist’s responsibility to make sure that you are laser-focused on the truth and the facts,” Jackson said. “Let people have their opinions even if their opinions are unpopular, but you don’t get to pick what your set of facts is.”
Jackson informed the audience that she “gut checks” her sources, making sure there is no agenda attached and they can be trusted and accurate.
After the Q&A session, Strudler opened up questions to the floor with around 10 minutes left in the colloquium. Several students asked questions ranging from collaborative efforts with other news networks to recalling a mistake Jackson has made over the course of her career.
When choosing a mistake to talk about, Jackson mentioned a moment when she fell on live television after underestimating the weight of asphalt she picked up for a stand-up report. The room erupted in laughter, and Jackson reinforced that even professionals have their moments of regret.
The colloquium was followed by a reception on the second floor of the SCM with a mixture of students and faculty, concluding at around 9 p.m.
— Montclair SCM (@MontclairSCM) November 22, 2019