Klein award winners reflect on long careers in media ahead of October ceremony

The winners in 2019 include CNN host Jake Tapper alongside Julie Brown, who investigated multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

The late broadcasting pioneer, Temple alumnus, benefactor, and teacher, Lew Klein, speaks at the renaming ceremony of the Klein College of Media and Communication at the Temple Performing Arts Center in March 2017. Jake Tapper will be awarded the Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award in October. | GENEVA HEFFERNAN / FILE PHOTO

This year’s Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Awards will honor CNN host Jake Tapper alongside six Klein School of Media and Communication alumni on October 4.

Tapper is set to receive the Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award, which is given each year to celebrate achievements that bring honor to journalism, according to the awards ceremony’s website.

Among the six winners is Julie Brown, a 1987 journalism alumna and Miami Herald reporter who investigated the late multi-millionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Lew Klein, a longtime educator at Temple and the college’s namesake, died in July. The late benefactor had a hand in choosing this year’s recipients, said David Boardman, dean of Klein College.

Tapper’s diverse accomplishments in media, which include both print media and his CNN show “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” influenced the decision to choose him as this year’s winner, Boardman said.

”Jake was someone we talked about and the reason we wanted to choose him is because he’s emerging as a highly respected journalist who plays it straight,” Boardman said.

Tapper, who grew up in Queen Village and is the 19th person to receive the honor, joined CNN in 2001. After a tenure at ABC where he won accolades for his coverage of the Obama administration, Tapper returned to CNN in 2013 where he hosts “The Lead.”

Other alumni set to receive awards include 1988 radio, television and film alumnus John Zissimos, who is the vice president of brand, creative and media at Google; 1969 journalism alumnus Murray Dubin, an author and retired journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer; 1969 journalism alumnus Mel Greenberg, a retired sports journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer; 1988 journalism alumna Michelle Rice, general manager of TV One; and Kyle Hall, an editor and photographer at CBS who graduated with a TV-video degree in 2009.

Zimmos said he is honored to receive the award and that his time at Temple was pivotal. 

“I can trace back every moment back to my time at Temple,” he said. “I found my spark.”

Today, he is most impressed by the diversity at the university, he said. 

“When I come back to Temple, I think, ‘Look at this. This is how we want to make our companies look,’” he said.

Dubin, who wrote over 4,000 stories during his time as a journalist, said he was surprised but pleased to receive his award.

If he had one piece of advice for current Klein students, it would be to interview sources in person, Dubin said. 

“While the technology has become an integral part of the business I grew up on, you have to get off your rear end and get on the street,” he said.

Greenberg, who over the course of his career became known, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, as the “Guru” of women’s basketball for his role in getting the media to take the sport seriously, said he was thrilled when he was chosen for the award. 

Reflecting on his own career, Greenberg said he had blazed a distinct trail by taking initiative to expand beyond his official portfolio.

“I’m not pushing people to get into papers, but the technology is there,” he said. “You gotta brand, it’s a question about changing the way the news is delivered. If you work at it and become good at what your interests are, from there you’ll get noticed.”

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