Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Jim Bittermann ‘Chevalier’ of the National Order of the Legion of Honor

CNN Press Release - Last night, Tuesday June 30 Jim Bittermann received the highest decoration in France and was made ‘Chevalier’ of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, in a special ceremony presided over by the Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

Ask CNN Senior European Correspondent Jim Bittermann what he does for a living, and he'll answer “For the past 30 years, I’ve been explaining France and the French to the rest of the world.”

Paris based correspondent, American-Irish, Jim Bittermann covers all French news and events for CNN International. At CNN with its round-the-clock coverage, Bittermann quickly became the face and voice for whatever was happening in France and in the Francophone world and for the past 10 years, he has covered events as diverse as the death of Princess Diana and the last days of Yassir Arafat, the French presidential elections, the EU referendum, the World Cup championship and recently the Air France Tragedy and the last visit of President Obama in France.

Apart from his frequent appearances on CNN and in, Bittermann has in recent years also become a familiar personality as lecturer and panel moderator at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and a featured speaker at journalism events such as Global Fusion 2004 in London, the International Diplomacy Institute in Geneva. He has made numerous visits to schools and universities in the United States to explain his work and what life is like in France. He is also co-author of the book Live from the Trenches: the Changing Role of the Television Correspondent which is still read in American journalism schools. In 1999 Bittermann became a professor himself at The American University of Paris and has taught courses in Broadcast News Writing and Production, Politics and Media, and Paris Documentaries.

Jim is one of the few journalists to receive the Honor, and joins a distinguished list of non-French recipients from many walks of life including Dwight D Eisenhower, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Rudolf Nureyev, Elie Wiesel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and General Norman Schwarzkopf.
In the field of American television journalism, he joins Pierre Salinger from ABC, who received his honor in 1978. In this year’s Honor’s list, he is one of only two Americans, and of 13 foreigners, to be so honoured.

Jim Walton’s Note to Staff
July 1, 2009

Last night, CNN’s Jim Bittermann was made a Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest recognition of merit, in a ceremony presided over by the French Foreign Minister at the Foreign Ministry in Paris.

Jim was recognized for his nearly 30 years of reporting from France, as well as for his teaching and volunteer service within the French media industry.

Founded in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte to recognize outstanding accomplishment, the Legion of Honour is awarded annually to 3,500 French men and women and a very few non-nationals—13 this year, only two of them Americans. Jim joins the distinguished company of non-French recipients including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles and Norman Schwarzkopf.

We’re all proud of this unique tribute to our colleague.

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