March 30, 2006

Journalists hail Woodruff, Jennings at D.C. event

By Paul J. Gough

WASHINGTON (Hollywood Reporter) - The usual levity that
marks the annual Radio-Television Correspondents Assn. dinner
briefly made way Wednesday for emotional tributes to injured
ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and his late predecessor Peter

Woodruff, who is recovering in a New York-area
rehabilitation facility after being severely wounded in a bomb
attack near Baghdad in January, was honored with the
association's David Bloom Award for Excellence in reporting.

In a statement read by ABC News correspondent Martha
Raddatz, Woodruff vowed to return to work.

"My entire focus is on my family and my recovery and
getting back to the job I love," Woodruff said. "Invite me back
next year. I'd love to raise a glass with you all to life."

The award was presented at the Washington Hilton ceremony
by Christine and Nicole Bloom, the 12-year-old twin daughters
of the NBC News correspondent who died three years ago while on
assignment in Iraq. Bloom and Woodruff and their families were
close friends, and it Woodruff's wife, Lee, comforted Bloom's
wife, Melanie, when she learned of Bloom's death.

Reading the judges' comments on the award, Bloom's
daughters said the selection of Woodruff for the Bloom award
was not made for sentimental reasons.

"The competition for the award was very intense," the
judges said, but Woodruff's work -- especially his strong and
courageous reporting in North Korea, Iran and New Orleans
following Hurricane Katrina -- exemplified Bloom's dogged
reportorial spirit.

In his statement, Woodruff noted that he and Bloom often
commented to each other said that to understand what's really
going on "you need to be out in the field."

ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, who died of cancer in
August, was honored with a round of applause following a video
tribute that featured Jennings talking about his career and
journalism philosophy.

The 62nd annual dinner routinely brings out the government
and media elite, led this year by Vice President Dick Cheney,
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Defense Secretary Donald

Cheney brought a number of laughs with his self-deprecating
remarks and a humorous slide show mocking his reputed status as
persona non grata at the White House following his accidental
shooting of a friend during a hunting trip last month in Texas.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter