The award was named for “Uncle Walter,” but last night belonged to the most influential woman in the nightly news.

At the Annenberg Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California, CBS News managing editor Katie Couric won a Special Achievement for National Impact on the 2008 Campaign. The awards jury honored Couric
for her  “extraordinary, persistent and detailed multi-part interviews
with Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin” which judges
called a “defining moment in the 2008 presidential campaign.”

“These Cronkite Award winners prove that thoughtful, informative
political coverage can also make for gripping television,” said USC
Annenberg professor Martin Kaplan, director of the Lear
Center, which has administered the biennial awards honoring the
distinguished broadcast journalist and longtime CBS anchor Walter
Cronkite since 2000.

As the Huffington Post points out, those October Couric-Palin interviews would be repeated, parodied and argued till Election Day, from dinner tables to Saturday Night Live and back again. This now-legendary contest between two high-powered women is below:  watch as Palin, as she explained later to NBC’s Matt Lauer, seeks only to deliver her planned message, while journalist Couric gently insists on answers to her questions.

– Chris L.

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