Contact: Victoria Winkelman
SMU Meadows School of the Arts
(214) 768-3785

March 18, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- Don Hewitt, award-winning creator and executive producer of 60 Minutes, will receive the 2002 Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts on November 9 at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Hewitt will spend the three days prior to the award presentation working with students and participating in public forums at SMU.

"The selection of Mr. Hewitt as the recipient of the 2002 Meadows Award is particularly important to us now as we move forward with a new program in convergence journalism, new emphasis on media ethics, the appointment of a new Belo Distinguished Chair in Journalism and the realization of a new digital newsroom," said Carole Brandt, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts. "His stature, vision and willingness to give of his time and extraordinary experience to students, the next generation of journalists, exemplify the raison d'etre for this award."

Don Hewitt has spent 54 years at CBS News and is credited with inventing many of television's news reporting methods. He produced and directed numerous broadcasts of the world's major news events during television's infancy, including the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the installation of Pope John XXIII in 1958, and the first face-to-face television debate between presidential nominees Kennedy and Nixon during the 1960 campaign. However, Hewitt is best known for 60 Minutes, the groundbreaking news broadcast he created in 1968.

60 Minutes introduced the newsmagazine format to television and has been widely copied ever since. It was the first news program to break into the Neilsen Top Ten, and it has remained the highest rated public news program for more than 30 years.

Born in New York City in 1922, Don Hewitt began his journalism career as head copy boy for the New York Herald Tribune in 1942, following a year at New York University. He served as a correspondent in Europe and the Pacific during World War II, and then became a night editor at the Associated Press in Memphis. He later served as editor of the Pelham (N.Y.) Sun and was the night telephoto editor for Acme News Pictures before jumping at the chance to work in the medium of "little pictures in a box" -- the fledgling CBS television network -- in 1948.

Hewitt's first job at CBS was associate director of Douglas Edwards with the News. He went on to produce and direct the broadcast for 14 years before becoming executive producer of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Hewitt also served as a producer-director of such CBS News specials as Eyewitness to History, and as the executive producer of the award-winning CBS Reports: Hunger in America. In addition, he had a leading role in CBS News' coverage of every Democratic and Republican Convention from 1948 to 1980.

"Don Hewitt's contributions to television consistently have raised the quality and ambition of broadcast journalism," said Chris Peck, Belo Distinguished Chair of Journalism at SMU. "The next generation of broadcast journalists can learn a great lesson from Don Hewitt about aiming high and doing socially important work on TV."

Don Hewitt has received numerous industry awards and has been honored by nearly every major university journalism program. He has won eight Emmys, including a Founders Emmy from the International Council of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1995; two Peabody awards; and two awards honoring his lifetime achievements in journalism, from the Overseas Press Club and the Committee to Protect Journalists. In 1990, Hewitt was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. He also has received honorary doctorates from Brandeis University and the American Film Institute.

Presented annually by the Meadows School, the Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts honors the accomplishments of an artist at the pinnacle of a distinguished career. It is funded by a generous endowment from The Meadows Foundation. Hewitt will accept the award from Foundation President and CEO Linda P. Evans and SMU President R. Gerald Turner at a formal ceremony hosted by the Meadows School of the Arts and The Meadows Foundation.

"The Meadows Foundation endowed this award to commemorate Al Meadows' belief in the pursuit of excellence in art, education and life," said Evans. "Certainly, Don Hewitt embodies that belief. We are delighted that he will accept the Meadows Award and that the students at SMU will have a unique and special opportunity to participate in journalism workshops and learn from this accomplished broadcast journalist. Mr. Hewitt's presence at the Meadows School of the Arts brings to life Al Meadows' dream of providing these students with educational excellence," Evans concluded.

The Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts provides a forum for the recipient to share ideas and aspirations with the students of SMU who will be professional artists and patrons in the future. The Meadows Award is a permanent memorial to Algur H. Meadows (1899-1978), a distinguished arts patron and benefactor of the Meadows School of the Arts.

The award, which carries a cash prize of $50,000, has been previously awarded to such luminaries as film director Ingmar Bergman, theater director Peter Brook, artist/architect Santiago Calatrava, choreographer Merce Cunningham, choreographer Martha Graham, actor John Houseman, dancer/choreographer Judith Jamison, actress Angela Lansbury, artist Jacob Lawrence, musician Wynton Marsalis, playwright Arthur Miller, singer Leontyne Price, artist Robert Rauschenberg, musician/conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, composer Stephen Sondheim and choreographer Paul Taylor.