A Conversation with Brian Williams
Beckman Institute Auditorium
405 N. Mathews, Urbana
Brian Williams, former anchor of MSNBC's The 11th Hour with Brian Williams and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, will be on campus for a conversation about the evolution of broadcast news in America.
A 40-year veteran of television news, Williams has received a dozen Emmy Awards, 11 Edward R. Murrow Awards, the duPont-Columbia Award, the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the industry’s highest honor: the George Foster Peabody Award.
The conversation will be led by Colleen King, director of the Frank Center and clinical assistant professor of journalism. King worked closely with Williams as his executive producer of The 11th Hour.
This event is presented by the Richard and Leslie Frank Center for Leadership and Innovation in Media.
About Brian Williams
Brian Williams is a 40-year veteran of television news and is among the most highly decorated journalists of his generation. After 28 years at NBC News, he signed off the air for the last time on December 9, 2021.
Over the course of his career, he covered every major story imaginable: political conventions and presidential elections, our nation’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflict in the Middle East, natural disasters, and countless mass-casualty tragedies in the United States and abroad. He traveled to more than two dozen countries, many of them aboard Air Force One. He has interviewed six American presidents.
His work has been richly rewarded, with a dozen Emmy Awards, 11 Edward R. Murrow Awards, the duPont-Columbia Award, the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the industry’s highest honor: the George Foster Peabody Award, which he received for his tireless coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. His televised reports from New Orleans were praised by Vanity Fair as “Murrow-worthy.”
During the decade he spent as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, it was the most-watched news broadcast in the United States—and Williams was viewed by more people on a daily basis than any other broadcaster. At the time of his retirement from NBC, he was anchor of the critically-acclaimed 11th Hour with Brian Williams, which chronicled the 2016 election and its aftermath, including the January 6th insurrection and the failed attempt to overturn a presidential election.
Williams joined NBC in 1993 after a dozen years in local news. Two years later, he was named Chief White House Correspondent. In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Along the way, he became a favorite of late-night talk show audiences, and in 2008 he became the first evening news anchor to host Saturday Night Live. In 2014, Williams was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame by fellow member Bruce Springsteen.
Beyond his family, his first love has always been firefighting—and that remains true today. He applied for enrollment in the fire academy at the age of 18, and has served as a volunteer firefighter for many years. He is currently an active and fully accredited member of the fire service in Ocean County, New Jersey. He has been a member of the Leary Firefighters Foundation Board of Directors for 10 years, where he is proud to advocate for the needs of the nation’s 130,000 volunteer firefighters.