Barbara Cochran, president of the Radio-Television News Directors Association, will retire in June 2009, the RTNDA announced Thursday (Nov. 13). She will continue to serve as a consultant to the organization as president emeritus.
Highly respected by the news business she tirelessly served for so long, Cochran made defending First Amendment rights of electronic journalists a top priority. She also emphasized upholding standards of ethics and excellence in the business.
Among her many achievements, Cochran concluded RTNDA's 20-year battle to abolish the last vestiges of the Fairness Doctrine. She also succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court for the first time in history to allow the news media immediate access to the audio recording of the arguments in the 2000 presidential election dispute.
"Barbara Cochran's leadership took RTNDA's advocacy on behalf of electronic journalists to a new level, especially in the fight to preserve hard-found First Amendment gains and protections," said Ed Esposito, RTNDA Chairman.
Cochran came to RTNDA in 1997 from CBS News, where she served as Washington bureau chief, the first woman to hold that position for a TV network. Other news positions she held in her career were executive producer of Meet the Press, vp of news for National Public Radio and managing editor of the Washington Star.
Cochran has received numerous awards including the Media Institute's Freedom of Speech Award, the American Women in Radio and Television Award for Allied Services, the University of Georgia's DiGamma Kappa Society Distinguished Achievement Award in Broadcasting and the Matrix Foundation's Edith Wortman First Amendment Award. She is married to John Cochran, senior correspondent for ABC News.
The board of directors has begun the process to seek Cochran's successor.