Ted Koppel and Mike Wallace took home awards Monday for their work shining light on Iran and its leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the News and Documentary Emmys in Gotham.
Koppel, also honored for lifetime achievement, won for the Discovery Channel doc “Iran: The Most Dangerous Nation.” Wallace won for the first interview with Ahmadinejad by a Western journalist last year for “60 Minutes.”
Both nods, coincidentally, were handed out on the day of Ahmadinejad’s controversial visit to Columbia U.
Iran and the conflict in Iraq dominated the subject matter for the awards that honor the year’s best TV news broadcasts, but nets were also honored for domestic political coverage and investigations.
Pubcaster PBS led all Emmy winners with 10 awards, including four for “Frontline,” which won for “Iraq: Saddam’s Road to Hell,” “Libya: Out of the Shadow,” “Sex Slaves” and “The Lost Year in Iraq.”
CBS’ “60 Minutes” led all network programs with four Emmy wins, including best story in a newsmag, given for Ed Bradley’s piece on the Duke rape case, completed just before he died of cancer in 2006.
CBS’ “60 Minutes” also took Emmys for its coverage of genocide in Sudan, “Searching for Jacob,” and the Hewlett Packard corporate-spying scandal, “Pattie Dunn,” as well as Wallace’s interview with Ahmadinejad.
Also from CBS News, Lara Logan won best continuing coverage of a news story for “Ramadi: On the Front Line,” about the lives of U.S. Marines enduring daily firefights in Ramadi, Iraq.
Former CBS anchor Dan Rather was on hand, introduced by NBC’s Tim Russert as the anchor “soon to star on his own reality show on Court TV with Les Moonves.” Rather, embroiled in a $70 million lawsuit against his former employer, was nommed for a report on returning soldiers from Iraq on HD Net.
NBC News won three Emmys, including best story in a regularly scheduled newscast for the “Nightly News” report “Crisis in Darfur” by correspondent Ann Curry. NBC also won for a “Today” story about an artist who paints portraits of soldiers killed in Iraq, “Portrait of Compassion,” and for “Nightly News” for its coverage of Hezbollah’s rocket attacks on Tel Aviv.
ABC News won an Emmy for investigative correspondent Brian Ross’s coverage of the Mark Foley congressional page scandal. CNN took an Emmy for its election night coverage in the fall of 2006.
Both Koppel and Wallace defended Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia, which dominated cable news for much of the afternoon.
“We as journalists are also here to present the voices of people who have unpopular things to say,” Koppel said.