2021 RTCA Award Winners

2021 RTCA Award Winners

2021 RTCA Award Winners 

Although the RTCA Executive Committee was forced to make the tough decision to postpone our yearly dinner, we still wanted to announce our award winners.

Congratulations to all of our extortionary colleagues. We look forward to honoring all the winners at our rescheduled dinner in February/March 2022.

Jason Donner

2021 RTCA Dinner Chair

RTCA Executive Committee Member

Joan Shorenstein Barone Award – Lisa Desjardins, PBS NewsHour

Description Excerpts Selected from Entry 

“On that afternoon, as the insurrection was underway, Lisa was the only reporter live on television, inside the Capitol, and outside of lockdown. During her reporting and two ways with our anchor Judy Woodruff, Lisa – first via phone –detailed the live breach of the Capitol building doors and even interviewed an insurrectionist as they streamed into the building. Later, she was able to utilize live Skype video and the stunning scenes revealed a calm and direct Lisa Desjardins, surrounded by insurrectionists and armed tactical forces, just before she was able to make safe exit alongside several members of Congress.”


Lisa Desjardins is a correspondent for PBS NewsHour, where she covers news from the U.S. Capitol while also traveling across the country to report on how decisions in Washington affect people where they live and work.

She specializes in breaking down complex stories and political disagreements into the key pieces that matter, often translating numbers and fiscal information into accessible stories for the audience.

Prior to joining NewsHour, Desjardins spent nearly ten years with CNN as a senior correspondent and Capitol Hill reporter. Prior to CNN, she reported for the Associated Press, WBTW-TV, WIS-TV, WTS-TV, Reuters, and The Sun News. At WIS in Columbia, South Carolina, she broke news of the compromise to bring down the Confederate flag from the state house dome.

Desjardins earned a bachelor’s degree at the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She also received a first level graduate degree in Russian Studies from the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia.

Desjardins is the recipient of a Peabody Award for CNN’s coverage of the 2008 election and a Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for national breaking news for coverage of the Haiti earthquake.

David Bloom Award – CNN Capitol Hill, Investigative, & Justice Teams

Description Excerpts Selected from Entry 

“CNN has created a unique historical record of January 6th with its documentary Assault on Democracy: the Roots of Trump’s Insurrection. By using the voices of the people who were there, allowing them to share how their beliefs developed over time, combining that with rich historical details, and including a powerful play-by-play of the violence at the Capitol, CNN provided viewers with a greater understanding of the motivations of these Trump supporters, how the rhetoric escalated to violence and hopefully, that knowledge can be used to help prevent something like this from ever happening again.

In addition to the television documentary, CNN published a complementary digital interactive titled Assault on Democracy: Paths to Insurrection – a deeply reported, uniquely immersive experience which focused on seven characters who emerged from the chaos – either as rioters or the stokers of the big lie, and tells their stories through compelling writing, interview clips, and their own social media and videos.

CNN brought together journalists from all parts of the network over a six-month period to tell this historic and crucial story. From the CNN Capitol Hill team, who first reported on the insurrection and riot live as it unfolded, to the in-depth investigations by the more than a dozen members of CNN’s investigative team and CNN’s Justice Department reporters, to partners in editing and graphics.”

Jerry Thompson Award – Melissa Young, ABC News

Description Excerpts Selected from Entry 

“Melissa Young is one of a kind. As a 40-year veteran network camerawoman, the best way to describe Melissa is pioneer, trailblazer, field warrior, mentor, teacher, superwoman, and a dedicated, generous, professional, even-keeled spirit that always strives to do the right thing.

She has traveled the world covering Presidents, Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, Secretaries of Defense and so much more.

In addition to all these accomplishments, she is a teacher and mentor to many. She has taught

countless photographers and producers how to cover the White House & how to be prepared for the unexpected. She has coached young producers how to cover news and make interviews look good. She is an advocate for inclusion and diversity. And she always wants to find ways to do things better for every team she works with.”

Career Achievement Award for Distinguished Reporting on Congress – John Wallace, Fox News


“Born in Pittsburgh, PA, John is a “yinzer” through and through. He graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1982 with a degree in journalism. 

He won an internship at CNN right off the bat just as the fledgling cable network was getting off the ground and spent 14 years there working his way to a job as cameraman in just 3 short months. He spent much of that time at the White House, first covering President Ronald Reagan. 

Fox News Channel came calling in 1996 as that network was being created; John was asked to help establish a White House unit. During his 16-year tenure at the White House covering four presidents, John shot many iconic moments, from the Clinton-Arafat-Rabin Middle East peace agreement to multiple summits in the then-USSR to being with President George W. Bush on 9/11 in Florida. In 2005, he left to cover Capitol Hill where he has become an integral part of that team. 

He most loved the international travel, including many trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, and will always remember the year and a half he spent on the road with Major Garrett covering the Barack Obama campaign. There were a number of harrowing moments over his career, from Pres George H. W. Bush getting stuck in the middle of a protest in Panama with gunfire ringing out all around them, to January 6th inside the Capitol when no one knew how that might end. 

John has been at FNC for 25 years and is on track to retire in June of 2022.  He was chairman of the RTCA in 2012. 

His proudest achievement of his career was organizing a fundraiser that earned $60,000 for the family of his former crew partner, CNN cameraman Jerry Thompson, who died of cancer in 2011.

John is married to ABC News Capitol Hill reporter, Trish Turner and is the proud father and grandfather of 3 daughters and 2 grandchildren.”

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