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NBC Newsman Brian Williams to Accept Cronkite Award Wednesday

NBC talking-head Brian Williams will be in the Valley Wednesday to accept the 26th annual Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Williams, who just had a guest spot on the NBC comedy 30 Rock as the wise guy "Nicki Malarulo from Scotchdale, New Jersey," is well known for his admiration of the late Cronkite.

"As someone who grew up idolizing Walter and having come to know him in adult life, I know that there is no greater name in our profession," Williams says in an ASU statement. "I only hope I am worthy of the meaning and tradition of this honor. Walter Cronkite is the only reason I entered the field of television journalism."

Cronkite, before his death back in July, seemed to welcome the idea of Williams joining the ranks of Cronkite Award winners that includes the likes of Tom Brokaw and Bob Woodward.

"I am overjoyed that Brian Williams will accept the 2009 Cronkite Award from ASU," Cronkite said in April. "It's no secret that I am one of his most ardent admirers. A fastidious newsman, Brian brings distinct credit to our profession, adding not only his brilliance but grace and elegance as well. He does me great honor by accepting this award."

Williams' coverage of Hurricane Katrina, among his other journalistic accomplishments, are cited by the university as the grounds for the award.

Williams is the seventh anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, the spot he inherited from former anchor Tom Brokaw in 2004.

The ceremony will take place at a luncheon on Wednesday at the Sheraton hotel in downtown Phoenix.   

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