Clarissa Ward Accepts duPont Award: ‘I Felt Humbled and Tremendously Honored’

By Merrill Knox 

CBS News foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward traveled to New York this week to accept the Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Award for her series of “Inside Syria” reports.

“I was the last person to accept my award, and by the time it came around I was feeling pretty humbled because I was just awestruck but what incredibly compelling and diverse reports had been honored,” Ward told TVNewser. “I felt humbled and tremendously honored and very excited.”

Ward said she was particularly proud to accept the award from ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, who she called “a heroine and a role model.”

Ward and producer Ben Plesser were the first American journalists to report live from Syria with the rebels. In the past year, she has traveled to the war-torn country six times for reports that have aired on “CBS Evening News” and “60 Minutes.” Ward called reporting from Syria “extremely challenging,” noting the fractured nature of the conflict.

“In conventional warfare you might embed with an army, but this is a completely different kettle of fish,” she said. “You’re embedding with rebel forces and each group has its own ways and its own rules and its own methods.”

Because of this, Ward said she anticipates seeing less reporting from Syria this year.

“I think you’ll see fewer journalists spending time with the rebels, partially because of safety concerns, which are very legitimate,” Ward said. “I really want to go in only when I feel like I have a story that furthers the bigger picture.”

Ward cited the recent experience of NBC’s Richard Engel, who was held captive for several days in Syria last month.

“I think that makes everyone sit and have a long hard think about, is this viable? How can we continue to tell the story without putting our people in danger?” Ward said.

While she plans to travel to Syria again this year, Ward said she has plenty of other international stories she wants to focus on.

“I’ll be spending some time in North Africa, Libya,” she said. “I have a few stories that I’m keen to pursue there.”