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Longtime CBS News Correspondent Honored with Silver Em


Randall Pinkston chosen for journalism school’s highest honor after covering some of the world’s biggest stories

OXFORD, Miss. – Randall Pinkston, winner of three national Emmys and one Edward R. Murrow Award as a network correspondent, has been chosen for the 2013 Samuel Talbert Silver Em Award from the University of Mississippi.
A native of Yazoo County, Pinkston retired in May after 33 years with CBS and in September joined the new Al Jazeera America team as a freelance journalist and national correspondent. In a video prepared for his retirement, anchor Scott Pelley noted Pinkston reported more than 7,700 stories from venues ranging from the Tora Bora caves in Afghanistan to the schoolhouse in Newtown, Conn.

The award will be presented at a noon luncheon on Thursday (Oct. 17) in the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at Ole Miss. Ticket information is available from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at 662-915-7146.

The Silver Em dates to 1958 and is the highest award in journalism presented by the university. The criteria limit recipients to Mississippians with notable journalism careers, journalists with notable careers in Mississippi or both, which is the case with Pinkston.

He is a graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson whose first television work was three years in the state capital. That was followed by two years in Jacksonville, Fla., and then by four years in Hartford, Conn., where he worked as a reporter, anchor and producer for public affairs programs and specials while also earning his law degree from the University of Connecticut.

In 1980, Pinkston joined WCBS-TV in New York, where he covered New Jersey for 10 years. Pinkston then joined CBS News as White House correspondent covering the administration of President George H.W. Bush and traveling with the president. At the end of the Bush presidency, Pinkston was reassigned to New York and covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. intervention in Haiti, the Unabomber story, the standoff with the Montana Freemen and the trial of Susan Smith, accused of killing her children.

Pinkston covered the early developments in the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida and, notably, interviewed Myrlie Evers Williams, a fellow Mississippian and widow of Medgar Wiley Evers, who was assassinated when Pinkston was 12, as one of his last CBS assignments.

“Whether he was on the front lines of the civil rights movement or in the press room at the White House, Randall Pinkston reported with clarity and courage,” said Sharon Alfonsi, an Ole Miss graduate with “60 Minutes Sports.” “He is an intrepid reporter, a gifted storyteller and always a true gentleman. I was honored to call him my colleague and proud to call him my friend.”

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media was founded in 2009, following an endowment gift by Ed and Becky Meek. It offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in both journalism and integrated marketing communications on the Oxford campus and in coordination with regional campuses. Due to the increasing diversity of media careers, enrollment continues to rise, with almost 1,000 undergraduate journalism or IMC majors in the school.

1958 – George W. Healy Jr.
1959 – Turner Catledge
1960 – Kenneth Toler
1961 – John Oliver Emmerich
1964 – William B. Street
1965 – Purser Hewitt
1966 – Hal C. DeCell
1967 – Paul Pittman
1968 – Hodding Carter Jr.
1969 – Willie Morris
1970 – T.M. Hederman Jr.
1971 – Joseph R. Ellis
1972 – Wilson F. Minor
1973 – Mark F. Ethridge
1975 – H.L. Stevenson
1976 – William Raspberry
1977 – Joe L. Albritton
1978 – James A. Autry
1979 – James Nelson
1980 – Mary-Lynn Kotz
1981 – Curtis Wilkie
1982 – Harold Burson
1983 – John O. Emmerich
1984 – Hazel Brannon Smith
1985 – Charles Overby
1986 – W.C. “Dub” Shoemaker
1987 – Charles Dunagin (2)
– Larry Speakes (2)
1988 – Edward Fritts
1989 – Rudy Abramson
1990 – Hodding Carter III
1991 – James L. McDowell
1992 – Rheta Grimsley Johnson
1993 – Dan Goodgame
1994 – Robert Gordon
1995 – Jere Hoar
1996 – Gregory Favre
1997 – Stephanie Saul
1998 – Lerone Bennett
2000 – Jerry Mitchell
2001 – Bert Case
2002 – Ira Harkey
2003 – Jim Abbott
2005 – Otis Sanford
2006 – Dan Phillips
2007 – Stanley Dearman
2008 – Ronnie Agnew
2009 – Stan Tiner
2010 – Terry Wooten
2011 – Patsy Brumfield
2012 – Greg Brock
2013 – W. Randall Pinkston

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