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Awardee Profiles - 2001

Barbara Cochran, Freedom of Speech Award
Charles F. Dolan, American Horizon Award
Fred Upton, Special Guest

Barbara Cochran, Recipient of the Freedom of Speech Award

Barbara Cochran has been president of the Radio-Television News Directors Association 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.

Ms. Cochran’s journalism career has spanned 30 years in Washington. She began as a copy desk trainee at the Washington Star in 1968 and rose to managing editor. Ms. Cochran moved to broadcast journalism in 1979 when she became news director and then vice president of news for National Public Radio. In 1983, she became political editor for NBC News, and later was executive producer of “Meet the Press” for four years.

From 1989 to 1995, Ms. Cochran was vice president and Washington bureau chief of CBS News. She directed the network’s coverage of the Bush and Clinton administrations, the Persian Gulf War, and the Republican landslide in the 1994 congressional elections. Ms. Cochran later served as executive producer of politics for CBS News. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and holds a Master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

A champion of the First Amendment, Ms. Cochran led RTNDA to victory in its 17-year battle to repeal the FCC’s personal attack and political editorial rules. A federal appeals court finally ordered the FCC to repeal the speech-restrictive rules in October 2000. For her leadership in this struggle, and for her outspoken support of the First Amendment throughout her career, The Media Institute recognizes Barbara Cochran with its Freedom of Speech Award.

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Charles F. Dolan, Recipient of the American Horizon Award

Charles F. Dolan is chairman of Cablevision Systems Corporation, one of the nation’s leading telecommunications and entertainment companies. A Cleveland native, Mr. Dolan served in the U.S. Air Force and attended John Carroll University before embarking on a career in cable television and entertainment. He was the first to wire cable in Manhattan in the 1960s before founding HBO in the early 1970s.

In 1973, Mr. Dolan founded Cablevision as a cable television operator serving 1,500 households in New York’s Long Island suburbs. Today, Cablevision’s state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable system serves 3 million customers in the New York metropolitan area. In addition, its operations range from high-speed Internet access and robust cable TV packages to professional sports teams and national programming networks.

Cablevision’s Rainbow Media division reaches 200 million subscribers worldwide through its national, regional, and local programming networks including American Movie Classics (AMC), Bravo, and the MSG Network. Cablevision also has a controlling interest in Madison Square Garden and its sports teams, the New York Knicks, Rangers, and Liberty. In addition, the company operates Radio City Music Hall as well as THE WIZ retail stores and the Clearview Cinemas Group.

In 2001, Mr. Dolan served on President Bush’s transition team overseeing the Federal Communications Commission. He is also a managing director of the New York Metropolitan Opera, a trustee of Fairfield University, and a member of St. Francis Hospital’s board of governors.

The Media Institute recognizes Charles F. Dolan as a true visionary and leader of the cable industry, and is pleased to honor him with its American Horizon Award.

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Fred Upton, Special Guest

The Honorable Fred Upton has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since January 1987, representing Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District.

Congressman Upton serves as chairman of the Telecommunications Subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee. In that role he oversees a subcommittee that is the gateway for legislation, such as the Telecommunications Act of 1996, having the potential to redefine and reinvigorate the nation’s communications landscape.

Congressman Upton is also a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. There his subcommittee assignments involve him in issues running the gamut from early childhood and youth to life-long learning.

Congressman Upton’s Capitol Hill experience dates to 1976, when he began working as a legislative affairs specialist for Congressman David Stockman of Michigan. He moved to the Office of Management and Budget in 1981, and served as OMB’s director for legislative affairs from 1983 to 1985. A native of St. Joseph, Mich., Congressman Upton graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in journalism. His district comprises the southwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, including St. Joseph and Kalamazoo.

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