NBC News Special Correspondent and Author Tom Brokaw Honored by Documentary Filmmaker Ken Burns and Old Sturbridge Village Nov. 27

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fallon Community Health Plan sponsors sold-out event

(Sturbridge, Mass.) November 14, 2012 – NBC News Special Correspondent and award-winning author Tom Brokaw will receive the annual “Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award” from documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and Old Sturbridge Village following a dinner in his honor at the living history museum on Tuesday, November 27. The sold-out event is sponsored by Fallon Community Health Plan.

Tom Brokaw's career as one of the nation’s most trusted journalists has earned him the admiration of millions, as well as every major accolade in his craft, including Peabody, Dupont, and Emmy Awards, and lifetime achievement recognition. During his long career with NBC News, he was White House correspondent during Watergate, anchor of the Today show, anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, and is currently an NBC News Special Correspondent.

The “Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award” is presented jointly each year by Ken Burns and Old Sturbridge Village to an individual who has made a significant impact on the arts through projects related to history. Previous awards went to Academy Award-winning actor Sam Waterston, noted for his portrayals of Abraham Lincoln; Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin; and to Emmy Award-winning actress Laura Linney, known for her portrayal of Abigail Adams in the HBO series John Adams. Old Sturbridge Village presented the first lifetime achievement award to Ken Burns himself in 2008 in honor of his many award-winning documentary films. (View images and video of past honorees).

Brokaw's impressive list of "firsts" includes the first interview with Mikhail Gorbachev; the first network report on human rights abuses in Tibet accompanied by an exclusive interview with the Dali Lama; and the only American network anchor to report from Berlin the night the Berlin wall came down. His first book, The Greatest Generation, one of the most popular nonfiction books of the 20th century, was followed by five other books, including Boom! Voices of the Sixties and, most recently, The Time of Our Lives. Brokaw is also a popular essayist for publications ranging from The New York Times to Rolling Stone and a wide assortment of other periodicals and newspapers.

Ken Burns, who has been making films for more than 30 years, is perhaps the most critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker in the country. According to the late historian Stephen Ambrose, “more Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.” Famous for his documentaries that include The Civil War, Jazz, Baseball, and The War, Burns made his very first film about Old Sturbridge Village as a college student in 1975, during which he used the now-famous “Ken Burns effect” – a panning technique – for the first time.

The OSV film, produced as his senior project while a film major at Hampshire College, is a 28-minute film entitled Working in Rural New England. The project inspired Burns to pursue historical subjects, a direction he has continued throughout his career. “Sturbridge is where I became a filmmaker, and where I caught the history bug for good,” he noted. "I’ve known since I was 12 that I wanted to be a filmmaker, and I have always had a passion and interest in history. When I was producing the film about Old Sturbridge Village -- this was the point at which the film bug and the history bug sort of fused, like a nuclear reaction. That was the first film that I signed my name to. That was the first film in which I felt I was the author.”

Burns, whose production company is based in Walpole, N.H., has just completed production on The Dust Bowl, a two-part series about the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, which airs on PBS November 18-19, 2012. Recent films include Prohibition, which was broadcast in 2010; The Tenth Inning, an update to the 1994 epic, Baseball; and The National Parks: America's Best Idea, which aired on PBS in 2009.

Event sponsor Fallon Community Health Plan, founded in 1977 and headquartered in Worcester, Massachusetts, is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health care services organization, offering innovative health insurance products throughout Massachusetts, and unique health care programs for independent seniors.

Old Sturbridge Village, one of the oldest and largest living history museums in the country, celebrates New England life in the 1830s. The museum, famous for its costumed interpreters, has 60 historic buildings on 200 acres, three water-powered mills, two covered bridges, a working farm with heritage breed animals, and a stagecoach that visitors can ride. OSV is open year-round; admission: $24; seniors $20; children 3-17, $8; children 2 and under, free. For more: www.osv.org or call 1-800-SEE-1830.

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Biography
Tom Brokaw, Special Correspondent, NBC News

Tom Brokaw has spent his entire distinguished journalism career with NBC News beginning in 1966 in the Los Angeles bureau where he covered Ronald Reagan’s first run for public office, the rise of the Sixties counter culture, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and the 1968 presidential campaign.

From Los Angeles, Brokaw went to Washington as the White House correspondent during Watergate and as the principal back up for John Chancellor as anchor of NBC Nightly News. Next stop: New York and the Today Show followed by his appointment as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. He took over Meet the Press for the 2008 campaign when his close friend and colleague Tim Russert died.

In addition to his daily news gathering responsibilities, Brokaw reported on more than thirty documentaries covering subjects ranging from AIDS, Los Angeles gangs, race, education, medicine, immigration and global warming. He has an impressive list of firsts, including the first interview with Mikhail Gorbachev; the first network report on human rights abuses in Tibet accompanied by an exclusive interview with the Dali Lama; the only American network anchor to report from Berlin the night the Berlin wall came down.

In 1998 Brokaw published his first book, The Greatest Generation, one of the most popular nonfiction books of the 20th century. He followed that with five other books, including Boom! Voices of the Sixties and, most recently, The Time Of Our Lives. He is also a popular essayist for publications ranging from The New York Times to Rolling Stone and a wide assortment of other periodicals and newspapers. Brokaw has won every major award in his craft, including Peabody, Duponts, Emmys and lifetime achievement recognition.

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Biography
Ken Burns, Documentary Filmmaker

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for more than 30 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz, Statue of Liberty; Huey Long; Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery; Frank Lloyd Wright; Mark Twain; Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; and, most recently, The Dust Bowl.

A December 2002 poll conducted by Real Screen Magazine listed The Civil War as second only to Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North as the “most influential documentary of all time,” and named Ken Burns and Robert Flaherty as the “most influential documentary makers” of all time. In March, 2009, David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun said, “… Burns is not only the greatest documentarian of the day, but also the most influential filmmaker period. That includes feature filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. I say that because Burns not only turned millions of persons onto history with his films, he showed us a new way of looking at our collective past and ourselves.” The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of his films, "More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source."

The Central Park Five, a two-hour film about the teenagers wrongfully convicted of the Central Park Jogger rape, had its theatrical release in November of this year, and will be broadcast on PBS in 2013. Future projects include films on the Roosevelts, Jackie Robinson, the Vietnam War and Country Music.

Ken’s films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including thirteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations; and in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

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