New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be given the International Emmy Founders Award for effective communication and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced Friday.
The award is being given to acknowledge Cuomo’s use of television to provide information and a sense of calm to viewers. Each iteration of the award honors a person for their ability to transcend cultural divides in connecting to a “common humanity.”
“The Governor’s 111 daily briefings worked so well because he effectively created television shows, with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure,” said Bruce L. Paisner, International Academy president and CEO. “People around the world tuned in to find out what was going on, and New York tough became a symbol of the determination to fight back.”
The first of his briefings came on March 2 as part of a broadcast with other New York leaders when the coronavirus pandemic had just begun to find its footing in the U.S., but Cuomo’s talks continued on well into June. The final briefing came on June 19, with CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and other local and national stations carrying his messages to a tuned-in audience. In total, they reached about 59 million viewers.
While his briefings were often meant to educate New Yorkers and keep them informed, they also reached a wider audience who benefitted from his consistent briefings.
Cuomo has served as New York’s governor since 2010. He was re-elected both in 2014 and 2018, and he held the job of New York State Attorney General prior to serving in the position. He was also the housing and urban development secretary for President Clinton.
Others honored with the Founders Award include Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Norman Lear.