CNN Gift Propels Environmental Media Initiative

A $500,000 CNN gift will help achieve the goal of creating a Ted Turner Professor of Environmental Media at SMPA and support GW’s focus on sustainability.

In revolutionizing television news, Cable News Network (CNN) founder Ted Turner earned a reputation as a pioneer in global media and journalism. And as a philanthropist, he focused the world’s attention on environmental threats like climate change.

“Ted brought an audacious entrepreneurial spirit to storytelling and global communication,” said Frank Sesno, director of strategic initiatives for the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA). Mr. Sesno spent more than two decades working at CNN as a White House correspondent, anchor and Washington bureau chief.

Now, Mr. Sesno, SMPA and others are honoring Mr. Turner’s legacy through the Ted Turner Endowed Fund. The group has set a $6 million goal for a multi-faceted initiative to honor Mr. Turner’s legacy by establishing a GW professorship in his name and supporting events and activities around environmental journalism. Spurred by this $500,000 gift from CNN, the fund also will support activities that reflect Mr. Turner’s passion for environmental activism, such as a major annual event jointly hosted by SMPA and CNN focused on creative storytelling about the challenges confronting the planet.

“There could be no better way to honor Ted than by teaching and inspiring young people,” Mr. Sesno said. “This initiative will increase public understanding of environmental issues, create a permanent public presence highlighting Ted’s legacy, invest in journalism and benefit students for generations to come.”

 

(See more in the full article on GW Today.)

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The fund also will support activities that reflect Mr. Turner’s passion for environmental activism, such as a major annual event jointly hosted by SMPA and CNN focused on creative storytelling about the challenges confronting the planet.

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This gift demonstrates CNN's commitment to not just covering the climate crisis, but investing in the future of environmental journalism. 
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The climate crisis has been a topic frequently featured on CNN, including a noteworthy marathon Climate Town Hall featuring 10 democratic presidential candidates in 2019.

 

And, more recently: At left, Dana Bash — CNN's Chief Political Correspondent and SMPA graduate — hosts a CNN Town Hall on the climate crisis in April 2021 with White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy and John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate.

(Photo courtesy CNN.com)