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FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and Chairman Jay Wallace honored recipients of the 2021 FOX News Media Spotlight Awards Wednesday Night at New York’s Iconic Tavern on the Green in fond memories of the late cameraman and editor Pierre Zakrzewski.
The FOX News Media Spotlight Awards allow leaders to recognize extraordinary employees who go above and beyond, inside and outside the workplace. The celebratory event featured Fox News’ Bill Hemmer as emcee, 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 recognize extraordinary employees who go above and beyond both at work and in their personal lives. It is essential that we as leaders recognize employees in a meaningful way. which really shines a light on their incredible contributions to the company as well as their communities as a whole,” said Scott. “We are thrilled to make these awards an annual tradition and this is one of the programs that I most look forward to every year.”
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Zakrzewski was named an Unsing Hero just months before he was tragically killed in March when his vehicle was hit by incoming fire in Horenka, outside Kyiv, while covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine . Fox News London bureau chief Dragan Petrovic accepted the award in honor of Zakrzewski.
The beloved photographer’s death rocked FOX News Media and Wallace paid a touching tribute.
“Colleagues in all media have for years admired Pierre, the bushy mustache photographer who was known to everyone in the field. But the world learned his name when tragedy struck while Pierre was on assignment earlier this year,” Wallace said.
Fox Nation Senior Executive Producer Dan Cohen, Media Relations Manager Jessica Ketner, Media Production Group Assistant Jessica Mintz and Program Operations Manager Karen O’Connor won the 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, head of special events and 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 Named Inclusion Ambassador of the Year; Washington Newsgathering Director Jodie Curtis 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 employees eager to celebrate team members who have earned special recognition, and the winners were announced in December at a year-end town hall for employees. Fox News Media received 330 nominations in multiple categories, including 150 nominations for the Unsung Hero award alone, indicating how much employees look up to their peers across the company.
All winners have previously received a monetary award and a Tiffany crystal star with their name and award inscribed.
Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova, who was a consultant for Fox News on the ground during the Russian invasion, was also killed in the attack that claimed Zakrzewski’s life. Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall was seriously injured.
It was revealed that Hall was one of many employees who had previously nominated Zakrzewski for the honor in 2021 with a touching letter that was posted in the event’s program:
“There is one person who makes our coverage of conflict zones and foreign reporting so remarkable. It is Pierre Zakrzewski. More recently in Afghanistan, but also in all the other war zones that we have covered, it is a man who gets things done – producing, editing, filming, 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 a valuable editorial.. He’s like MacGuyver, and can rerig a BGAN with tape and a paperclip even while negotiating with local militias for power sources,” Hall wrote. “He’s always thinking ahead — and usually contacted embassies, the appropriate military and everyone in between before others even knew it was needed for a story.”
Hall continued, “He also played an important role in helping our Afghan partners get out of the country safely after the American pullout. That means he probably, very literally, saved their lives. I can’t tell him enough. recommend this award, and if our recent coverage of Afghanistan is to be commended – it surely deserves a mention.”
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FOX News Media launched the Spotlight Awards for Employee Recognition in 2020 and this year marked the first official event to honor recipients.
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Fox News’ Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.