Al Roker, the Emmy-winning meteorologist and popular presenter for NBC NEWS ‘TODAY, has been selected as the recipient of the 38th annual Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, State University officials announced today from Arizona.
Roker, writer, producer and one of television’s most recognizable personalities, will receive the award at an in-person ceremony in Phoenix on March 1 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown.
The Cronkite Award – named after the late CBS News presenter – has recognized distinguished journalists annually since 1984. The award recognizes the achievements and leadership of the recipients during their careers.
“Al Roker has long been a trusted and valued voice in homes across America. Her integrity and commitment to honesty and fairness are the very values that have guided the career of our school’s namesake, Walter Cronkite. We are delighted to honor Al and his contributions to the industry with the 2021 Cronkite Award, ”said Dean Battinto L. Batts Jr.
Roker joined TODAY full time as a weather presenter in 1996 and co-hosts the morning show’s “3rd Hour”, reaching millions of viewers per week.
He is renowned for his weather coverage and has reported on some of the worst storms and natural disasters in history, including Hurricane Wilma, Hurricane Isaac, Super Storm Sandy, and the Haiti earthquake. Roker was also co-host of “Wake Up with Al” on The Weather Channel from 2009 to 2015.
In addition to his weather coverage, Roker is widely known for hosting the NBC broadcast of Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, as well as his celebrity interviews. Some of his notable interviews include Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, Willie Nelson, Burt Reynolds, James Earl Jones, and B. Smith.
Roker has created a brand that extends far beyond television, regularly interviewing celebrities on today’s Instagram page, Today.com, YouTube, and Sirius Radio. He co-hosts Sirius XM’s “Off the Rails” with Dylan Dreyer and Sheinelle Jones and hosts “Cold Cuts with Al Roker” on Today.com and YouTube.
Over the past 26 years, Roker has also produced numerous television programs for network, cable, digital and streaming channels through his own production company, Al Roker Entertainment. He was the executive producer of the award-winning Coast Guard television series, which aired on The Weather Channel and Pluto TV. He is the author of 13 books, ranging from mysteries to cookbooks to historical tales.
Roker also became well known for his “Rokerthons”, where he broke Guinness World Records for the longest uninterrupted live weather forecast broadcast, the fastest time to report a weather forecast for the 50 states and the District of Columbia and, with the help of nearly 70 chefs, the most people in an online sandwich shop.
In March 2017, Roker visited five colleges across the country in five days to help students break additional Guinness World Records.
Roker is the recipient of 14 Emmy Awards for daytime programming as well as live news coverage. He was also named “Best Meteorologist” twice by New York Magazine and received the prestigious seal of approval from the American Meteorological Society.
Roker said that when he first heard that he was the winner of the prestigious Cronkite Award, he thought he was “getting pranked by a number of my colleagues on the TODAY Show”.
“Now that I realize this is legitimate, words cannot begin to express the privilege and gratitude that I have been honored by ASU with this incredible recognition,” he said. “I look forward to the awards ceremony.”
Roker began his broadcasting career as a weekend weather presenter at WTVH in Syracuse, New York in 1974 while still in college. After graduation, he worked as a weather presenter in Washington, DC and Cleveland before joining WNBC in New York in 1983.
Roker served as a weekday forecaster for WNBC’s early-night newscast until January 2000.
It won’t be the first time Roker has visited the Cronkite School. In October 2013, Roker surprised students at the downtown Phoenix campus after two Cronkite students tweeted expressing their support for the TODAY Show.
Other Cronkite Award winners include television news presenters Lester Holt, Robin Roberts, Anderson Cooper, Scott Pelley, Christiane Amanpour, Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill; sports presenters Al Michaels and Bob Costas; news reporters Dean Baquet, Ben Bradlee, Helen Thomas and Bob Woodward; and media executives Katharine Graham, Al Neuharth and William Paley.