The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA, pronounced the same as "rotunda"), formerly the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA), is a United States-based membership organization of radio, television, and online news directors, producers, executives, reporters, students and educators. Among its functions are the maintenance of journalistic ethics and the preservation of the free speech rights of broadcast journalists.

The RTDNA is known for the Edward R. Murrow Award, given annually since 1971 for excellence in electronic journalism, and the Paul White Award, presented annually since 1956 as its highest award, for lifetime achievement.[1]


The RTDNA was founded in 1946 as the National Association of Radio News Editors.[2] The association was the idea of John Hogan, radio news editor at WCSH in Portland, Maine, who initially thought of it in the spring of that year.[3] The name was changed at the first convention of the new organization, becoming the National Association of Radio News Directors (NARND).[2] At this meeting, Hogan was elected president of the newly renamed group.[2]

In 1952, the group's willingness to accept name changes proved useful when they renamed themselves the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA). This change reflected the importance of television and welcomed members from Canada, Mexico, and other countries by removing the word "national."[2] More recently, in early 2010, they updated their name to include the word "digital" to highlight that industry's growing significance.

It was founded as an industry group to set standards for the nascent field of broadcast journalism and to defend the First Amendment in instances where broadcast media was being threatened.

Edward R. Murrow famously gave a speech[4] at an RTNDA event held in his honor in 1958. The speech was harshly critical of the network television establishment of the day, and its emphasis on popular entertainment rather than news and public affairs programming. This speech was the cornerstone of the plot of the 2005 motion picture Good Night, and Good Luck.


Reporting Awards

Edward R. Murrow Awards

The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow's pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession

Kaleidoscope Awards (formerly UNITY Awards)

RTDNA honors outstanding achievements in the coverage of diversity with the Kaleidoscope Awards The award was developed as part of RTDNA's commitment to achieve diversity in the newsroom through developing news content and editorial staffs that reflect the changing face of communities. The purpose of the award is to encourage and showcase journalistic excellence in covering issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity. It is presented annually to news organizations that show an ongoing commitment to covering the diversity of the communities they serve.

NEFE Personal Finance Reporting Award

The Radio Television Digital News Association and the National Endowment for Financial Education work together to honor the very best in personal finance reporting.

The award is presented as part of the Money Matters resource. Money Matters is a tool to help journalists better cover stories about financial issues on television, radio and online. One television, radio, and online journalist each receive a $1,000 prize and an invitation to present at the Excellence in Journalism conference.

Gannett Foundation Al Neuharth Award for Investigative Journalism

The Radio Television Digital News Association partners with the Gannett Foundation to honor the very best in investigative reporting. The award recognizes groundbreaking work by a journalist or a staff that creatively used digital tools in the role of being a community's watchdog. Special consideration is given to journalism that helps a community understand and address important issues. The winner receives a $5,000 prize awarded at the Excellence in Journalism conference.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Paul White Award

Named for the first news director of CBS, the Paul White Award is RTDNA's highest honor and recognizes an individual's lifetime contributions to electronic journalism. The Paul White Award is presented annually at the Excellence in Journalism conference and exhibition.

John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award

Named for the founder and first president of RTNDA, the John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual's contributions to the journalism profession and freedom of the press. The award is presented annually at the Excellence in Journalism conference and exhibition.

First Amendment Awards

The RTDNF First Amendment Awards honor individuals and organizations for their work on behalf of First Amendment freedom. They are presented annually at a gala in Washington, DC.

First Amendment Leadership Award

RTDNF presents this award annually to a business or government leader who has made a significant contribution to the protection of the First Amendment and freedom of the press.

• Belo Corp. (WWL-TV) • Clear Channel Broadcasting (WBUV-FM, WKNN-FM, WMJY-FM, WQYZ-FM, KHEV-FM, WNOE-FM, WODT-AM, WQUE-FM and WYLD-AM/FM) • Emmis Communications (WVUE-TV) • Entercom Communications (WWL-AM) • Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. (WDSU-TV) • Liberty Corporation (WLOX-TV) and • Tribune Broadcasting (WGNO-TV)

Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award

RTDNF presents this award annually to a radio or television journalist or news executive who has made a major contribution to the protection of First Amendment freedoms. It is named for the late Broadcasting & Cable senior correspondent, Leonard Zeidenberg.

First Amendment Service Award This award honors professionals in local or network news who work in an off-air, management, largely behind-the-scenes capacity.

First Amendment Award This award honors an outstanding individual or organization which champions the First Amendment and press freedoms.

First Amendment Clarity Award This award recognizes a journalist or group of journalists who go to extraordinary lengths to provide meaning and context to complicated news stories or issues of extreme public importance.

First Amendment Defender Award This award is presented to an individual or organization who takes a public stand in support of press freedom.

RTDNF Citation of Courage This award is presented in recognition of distinguished service to journalism and extraordinary courage.

RTDNF Lifetime Achievement Award

Internal Awards

Barney Oldfield Distinguished Service Award The Barney Oldfield Distinguished Service Award was created in honor of RTDNF founder Col. Barney Oldfield, USAF (Ret.), and goes annually to an individual who, through their own efforts, has contributed to the growth and success of RTDNF.

Bob Priddy Award Bob Priddy, one of RTDNA's most distinguished board members over 27 years of service stepped down in 2010. At RTDNA@NAB 2010, Priddy was honored with the newly introduced Bob Priddy award, which is now presented annually to board members who exemplify Priddy's distinguished and consistent service to RTDNA

Rob Downey Citation The Rob Downey Citation is presented annually at RTDNA's International Conference and Exhibition. Named for the first executive secretary of RTDNA, the Rob Downey Citation recognizes exceptional service to the RTDNA board of directors.

Code of Ethics

The RTDNA Code of Ethics does not dictate what journalists should do in every ethical predicament; rather it offers resources to help journalists make better ethical decisions – on and off the job – for themselves and for the communities they serve.

The Code's guiding principles are truth and accuracy above all, independence and transparency, and accountability for consequences.

The RTDNA Code of ethics was most recently revised June 11, 2015.

Coverage Guidelines

RTDNA has also developed a series of coverage guidelines to assist journalists, newsroom managers and station management with both common and uncommon ethical and operational situations which may arise. The guidelines have been prepared by journalists, managers and subject-area experts, and have been vetted by the RTDNA Ethics Committee.


The RTDNA and the Radio Television Digital News Foundation offer training opportunities to broadcast and digital journalists and students as well as to newsroom managers through resources including:

Journalism Scholarships and Fellowships

RTDNA's educational and philanthropic arm, the Radio Television Digital News Foundation, recognizes outstanding students and young professionals pursuing careers in electronic journalism with a number of scholarships and fellowships offered each year.

Scholarships for Graduate and Undergraduate Students:[5]

Fellowships for Young Professionals (with fewer than 10 years as a professional journalist):[6]


  1. ^ "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  2. ^ a b c d "Records of the Radio-Television News Directors Association – Special Collections – the University of Iowa Libraries".
  3. ^ "Radio Newsmen to Meet Tuesday". Portland Press Herald. October 20, 1946. p. 7. Retrieved March 7, 2023 – via
  4. ^ "Wires and Lights in a Box Speech". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
  5. ^ RTDNA Scholarship and Fellowship Information
  6. ^ RTDNA Fellowship Information