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Lifetime Achievement Award for VOA Director Amanda Bennett

VOA Director Amanda Bennett (center) at awards ceremony.
VOA Director Amanda Bennett (center) at awards ceremony.

Washington, DC – Amanda Bennett, director of the Voice of America (VOA), received the Lifetime Achievement Award Thursday, April 26 at the 5th Annual Washington Women in Journalism Awards. The annual awards, co-sponsored by Story Partners and Washingtonian Publisher Cathy Merrill Williams, recognize excellence in reporting and honors women journalists in Washington, D.C. This year’s awards celebrate the vital role female journalists play in covering the most important issues of the day.

A Pulitzer Prize-winning author, investigative journalist and editor, Bennett was named Director of the Voice of America in March 2016. “I am so fortunate,” she says, “to be director of VOA during these busy and fascinating times.” In citing an example, she added “With the upcoming historic meeting between the United States and North Korea leaders, VOA’s Korean news and information is ever more important, so we’ve been steadily increasing the amount of content we provide.”

Voice of America is the largest U.S. government-funded international multimedia broadcaster, producing content in 45 languages that reaches people in 85 countries.

Initiatives at VOA under Bennett’s direction include shaping and accelerating VOA’s focus on digital distribution and social media; groundbreaking cooperation with sister network Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on the Russian-language projects Current Time and; diaspora outreach within the U.S.; introducing bridge editors to boost the amount of original content-sharing among VOA’s 45 language services; creating a women’s project designed to boost the contributions of women in news and news stories; and establishing the Extremism Watch Desk, where a select team of journalists monitor news related to terrorism and take an in-depth look at the stories behind the headlines, providing audiences with insight that most Western media do not offer.

Prior to leading VOA, Bennett’s work included creating and overseeing a global team of investigative reporters and editors as executive editor at Bloomberg News; editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer; editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Kentucky; managing editor for projects at The Oregonian in Portland; and Wall Street Journal reporter. Her awards include a 1997 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting shared with her Wall Street Journal colleagues, and a 2001 Pulitzer for her team at The Oregonian for Public Service, among others.

Ms. Bennett joins three other distinguished women journalists receiving awards this year: Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times (Outstanding Journalist in Print); Audi Cornish of NPR (Outstanding Journalism in Broadcast Radio); and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report (Outstanding Journalism in Broadcast Television).