PULLMAN, Wash. — The life and career of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl will be honored at the April 16 Edward R. Murrow Symposium at Washington State University. Pearl, the newspaper’s South Asia bureau chief, was kidnapped and murdered in Karachi, Pakistan, last year while working on a story related to terrorism.
“Daniel Pearl’s career and ultimate sacrifice exemplify the highest ideals of journalism,” said Alex Tan, director of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at WSU. “The faculty of the school thought it especially fitting to make the award posthumous this year to honor Pearl not only for his journalistic achievements but for his efforts at building bridges between cultures.”
The award, which will be presented to Daniel Pearl’s parents in his honor, is the Edward R. Murrow Award for Distinguished Achievement in Journalism. “We are told,” Tan said. “Pearl’s family is honored and touched by this gesture.” The presentation will be made in Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum at 7:30 p.m., April 16, following the annual Scholarship Awards Banquet. Immediately after the award presentation there will be a panel discussion, “War and Words: The Challenge for Today’s Journalist.”
Panel discussion members include Bryan Gruley, an editor, writer, and reporter in the Washington Bureau of the Wall Street Journal. Gruley wrote one of the two lead stories in the WSJ’s Sept. 12, 2001, issue that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for spot news reporting. He led a multi-bureau team of reporters probing the 9/11 attack and was a friend of Pearl’s. Panelist Danny Schechter is an award-winning author, former network news producer, and is executive producer and co-founder of Globalvision, New York City. Schechter is also executive editor of MediaChannel.org, the world’s largest online media issues network.
Panelist Susan Ross, an associate professor of the Murrow School of Communication, has done extensive research and has been published on issues of free speech, First Amendment implications of anti-terrorist initiatives and coverage of under-represented groups in the media. Another panelist, Thomas Kent, is deputy managing editor, Associated Press, New York City. The U.S. State Department, Washington, D.C., will send a representative to speak on behalf of the U.S. government.
Panelists will discuss the dangers facing journalists on international assignments and the challenges the government faces in providing access and information without compromising security. Peter Bhatia, executive editor of The Oregonian newspaper and incoming president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, will moderate the discussion. Bhatia is a member of the Murrow School’s advisory board.
“This past year, much has been said about how different the war is going to be, both in fighting and reporting it,” said Marvin Marcelo, coordinator of the Murrow Symposium and assistant professor of communication.
“There was also a lot of discussion about how the information was being disseminated to reporters and to people at home. Security and other issues are used as reasons to withhold information, but is there a point at which we have a right to know? In addition,” Marcelo said, “Why are reporters targets now? Why is the media seen as the enemy on both sides of the war? We hope that this year’s panel speakers will be able to shed light on these and other issues regarding the reporting of the war.”
The Murrow Symposium is an annual tradition at WSU, named for journalist Edward R. Murrow, a university graduate. “The epitome of WSU’s excellence is WSU alumnus Edward R. Murrow,” said university President V. Lane Rawlins. “At WSU, he received education and training upon which he built a celebrated communication career. The Murrow Symposium reflects Ed Murrow’s talents, abilities and high professional standards.”
The symposium includes Career Day that brings high school and community college students to campus from across the region to hear industry insiders and find out what a career in communication involves. “Murrow Career Day will be a one-of-a-kind event for communication schools in the Northwest,” Marcelo said.
During the Career and Technology fairs, students of the Murrow School will meet with business representatives looking to recruit the best and brightest graduates. There will be representatives from companies at WSU to talk with students about available jobs and internships. Event organizers have already confirmed some top level executives from Seattle’s KOMO TV and Fisher Radio, and Spokane’s “North by Northwest” to teach workshops. The tech fair also will feature the newest communication technology from companies such as Sony.
Previous Edward R. Murrow Award Recipients include:
2002 – Daniel Schorr, Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award; Christiane Amanpour, Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting
2001 – Bernard Shaw, Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award
2000 – Ted Turner, Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement in Communications
1999 – Keith Jackson, Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award; Al Neuharth, Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement in Journalism
1998 – Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award; Frank Blethen, Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement in Journalism
1997 – Sam Donaldson, Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting