Previous recipients of the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award are: Dan Rather, Bill Moyers, Lesley Stahl, Ted Koppel, Tom Brokaw, Robert MacNeil, Jim Lehrer, Don Hewitt, Peter Jennings, Mike Wallace, Christiane Amanpour, Tom Bettag, Tim Russert, Bob Schieffer, Steve Kroft, Charles Gibson, Morley Safer, Gwen Ifill, David Fanning, Martha Raddatz, Scott Pelley, Richard Engel and Charlie Rose.
As a preeminent broadcast journalist, Holt was selected to moderate the first presidential debate of 2016, which was the most watched debate in American history. Holt’s one-on-one White House interview with President Trump in May 2017 drove headlines after the president said he asked former FBI head James Comey if he was under investigation. In January 2017, Holt traveled with President Obama on the Commander in Chief’s final trip aboard Air Force One for an in-depth interview in Chicago. Earlier in the 2016 presidential race, Holt received praise for his work moderating the first Democratic debate of the year. He has also sat down for revealing, news-making interviews with candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. NBC News was the most watched news organization of Election 2016, with Holt anchoring all of the network’s primetime coverage through the Republican and Democratic conventions, debates and Election Night.
For “Dateline NBC,” Holt has anchored numerous specials and investigative reports, such as “Breathless,” a story of injustice that examined the connection between childhood asthma and poverty in America. Holt also reported on wrongful convictions involving Richard Rosario and Johnny Hincapie, two cases that made national headlines. Additionally, he reported three hours on the aftermath of the Great Recession as part of the “American Now” documentary series.