Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney was honored with the Fred Dressler Leadership Award at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications’ annual Mirror Awards today.
“ABC World News” weekend anchor David Muir emceed the event, which honors the year’s best media reporting. He told TVNewser being on hand for Sweeney’s award was “an honor for me.”
“Sweeney is one of those rare corporate titans — the most powerful woman in Hollywood — who cares so much about journalism,” Muir told TVNewser. “It’s really had an impact on me watching someone who is at the top of the industry carry the mantle of journalism.”
In his remarks, Muir said it was rare to have someone so busy “give as much to the news division as Anne does,” recalling her reaction to a dangerous situation he and his crew were in while covering the 2011 Arab Spring protests in Egypt.
“When we came back from Tahrir Square and had that real scare — we were surrounded and one of the photographer’s lives was threatened — I’ll never forget it,” Muir said after the ceremony. “We had moved on from it. We landed, and we were back in New York, and Anne was waiting for us in the newsroom to make sure everyone was okay and to talk to that photographer.”
“Live!” co-hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan presented Sweeney with the award. Disney CEO Bob Iger, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer, who called Sweeney “a calm center” of the company, were featured in a video tribute to Sweeney.
In her acceptance speech, Sweeney recalled working as an ABC page for Dick Clark, who was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Newhouse School.
“He was kind, he was patient, he was generous with his time, he was always there to answer a thousand questions from a college student who was eager to understand everything about the business,” Sweeney said. “It’s so wonderful to see him honored here today.”
Clark’s widow, Kari Clark, announced a $5 million donation to the Newhouse School for the naming of the renovated studio complex, which will open in 2014 as Dick Clark Studios. She accepted the award, presented by comedian Jerry Stiller, on behalf of her late husband.
FishbowlNY has a full list of the winners.