CBS-TV executive to receive special Wilbur Award from Religion Communicators Council

Honor recognizes contributions to network's Religion and Culture series

John P. Blessington, Executive Producer Cultural and Religious Broadcast

Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS ©2012 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

NEW YORK, Dec. 12, 2012 — The Religion Communicators Council is presenting a special Wilbur Award next year to a CBS Television Network executive.

John P. "Jack" Blessington, executive producer of the network's Religion and Culture series, is to receive the award, one of the oldest in religion communication, April 6 in Indianapolis during the council's 84th annual convention. The special award recognizes contributions Blessington has made to public discussions of faith topics.

"For more than 30 years, Jack Blessington has produced interfaith documentaries that inform viewers and open dialogue about religion in everyday life," said council President Douglas F. Cannon. "He has shown that faith topics can be approached as news and are not boring."

Blessington came to CBS in the late 1970s as vice president for education and community service. He began working with the religion unit in 1983. The Religion and Culture series deals with a variety of issues, such as religious freedom, food and spirituality, worldwide interfaith movement and stewardship of the earth.

The council has presented Wilbur Awards annually since 1949. They honor excellence by individuals in secular media – print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting, and motion pictures – in communicating religious issues, values and themes. The award is named for the late Marvin C. Wilbur, a pioneer in religious public relations and longtime council leader.  

From time to time the council board of governors confers a special Wilbur Award. It recognizes a person or organization whose body of work in secular media makes a substantial and unique contribution to public discourse on religious faith and values or interfaith dialogue and understanding. Past recipients of special Wilbur Awards include Bob Abernethy of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter; John Dart, former religion editor of the Los Angeles Times; Martin Marty of The Christian Century; Bill Moyers of Bill Moyers Journal; Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood; cartoonist Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts; and filmmaker Ken Wales.

ABOUT THE RELIGION COMMUNICATORS COUNCIL: Founded in 1929, the Religion Communicators Council is the oldest public relations professional association in the United States. It has more than 450 members and seven regional chapters. Members represent Bahá’í, Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Jewish organizations and work in advertising, print and electronic communication, and public relations.

For more information contact Shirley Struchen, (212) 870-2402 or [email protected].

SOURCE: Religion Communicators Council

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