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FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace honored recipients of the 2021 FOX News Media Spotlight Awards on Wednesday night at New York City’s iconic Tavern on the Green in loving memory of late cameraman and editor Pierre Zakrzewski.
The FOX News Media Spotlight Awards allow leadership to recognize extraordinary employees who go above and beyond, inside and outside the workplace. The celebratory event featured Fox News’ Bill Hemmer serving as the master of ceremonies, and presenters included Scott, Wallace, Lauren Green, Dana Perino, Charles Payne and Executive Vice President of Human Resources Kevin Lord.
“The FOX News Media Spotlight Awards were created to distinguish extraordinary employees who go above and beyond both at work and in their personal lives. It’s vital that we as leaders recognize the employees in a meaningful way which truly spotlights their amazing contributions to the company as well as their communities at large,” Scott said. “We are thrilled to make these awards an annual tradition and it’s one of the programs I look forward to most every year.”
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Zakrzewski was named an Unsing Hero only a few months before he was tragically killed in March when his vehicle was struck by incoming fire in Horenka, outside Kyiv, while covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Fox News London bureau chief Dragan Petrovic accepted the award in Zakrzewski’s honor.
The beloved photographer’s death rocked FOX News Media, and Wallace led a touching tribute.
“Colleagues throughout the media admired Pierre for years, the photog with the bushy mustache that was known by all in the field. But the world learned his name when tragedy hit while Pierre was on assignment earlier this year,” Wallace said.
Fox Nation senior executive producer Dan Cohen, Media Relations Director Jessica Ketner, Media Production Group assistant Jessica Mintz and Program Operations Manager Karen O’Connor won Community Service Awards; production assistant Kristen Altus, Media Production Group daily artist Taryn Rostovsky, administrative assistant Samantha Snellings, technical director Rey Osoria and digital production assistant Emmett Jones were named Rising Stars; “The Five” producer Mina Pertesis, Manager of Special Events & Production Adreanna Walsh and Senior Vice President of Finance, Digital Investments and Business Intelligence Derek Cifrodelli were also named Unsung Heroes.
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Fox Business Network executive producer Joanna Chow was named Inclusion Ambassador of the Year; Director of Washington Newsgathering Jodie Curtis was named Innovator of the Year; and the staff of “Gutfeld!” won the Impact Award, which Scott presented.
The event will be an annual tradition for FOX News Media. Management received hundreds of nominations from staffers eager to celebrate team members who earned special recognition and winners were announced in December during an end-of-year town hall event for employees. Fox News Media received 330 nominations across multiple categories including 150 nominations alone for the Unsung Hero award, indicating how employees admire their peers throughout the company.
All winners previously received a monetary stipend and Tiffany crystal star with their name and award inscribed.
Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova, who was serving as a consultant for Fox News on the ground during the Russian invasion, was also killed in the attack that took Zakrzewski’s life. Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall was severely injured.
It was revealed that Hall was one of the many employees who previously had nominated Zakrzewski for the honor in 2021 with a touching letter that was published in the program for the event:
“There is one person who truly makes our coverage of conflict zones, and foreign reporting so outstanding. That is Pierre Zakrzewski. Most recently in Afghanistan, but also in every other war zone we’ve covered, he is a man who gets things done – producing, editing, shooting, all under immense pressure, he doesn’t sleep and he finds solutions to EVERYTHING. He is also the preeminent expert on most parts of the world, and offers valuable editorial.. He’s like MacGuyver, and can rerig a BGAN with gaffer tape and a paper clip even while negotiating with local militias for power sources,” Hall wrote. “He is always thinking ahead – and has generally contacted embassies, appropriate military, and everyone in between before others even know it’s needed for a story.”
Hall continued: “He also played a big part in helping get our Afghan partners safely get out of the country after the US withdrawal.. Meaning he has likely, very literally saved their lives. I cannot recommend this award to him highly enough, and if our recent coverage of Afghanistan is to be praised – he must surely receive a mention.”
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FOX News Media launched the Spotlight Awards for employee recognition in 2020 and this year marked the first formal event to honor recipients.
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Fox News’ Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.