From Telemedium, The newsletter of the of the National Telemedia Council, Inc.

Vol 34, No 3&4. Published November 1988

Susan Dreyfus Fosdick Wins First Jessie McCanse Award

"We want to say 'Thank you'," said NTC President Mini Schiro Murphy to Mrs. Jessie McCanse, "for more than a half century of leadership and dedication to this organization and for the altruistic effort to advance its mission of media literacy." 


That "Thank you" came in the form of NTC's new Jessie McCanse Award, recognizing an individual for his or her contribution to media literacy. In her last official act as President Murphy named Susan Dreyfus Fosdick as the first recipient of the award. 


The award, named for the NTC co­founder and charter member in honor of her 90th birthday, was established by the Awards Committee chaired by Sr. Helen Dailey and approved by vote of the board only minutes before the ceremony. 


The presentation was "the fun part" of the December 1 Annual Membership Meeting in Madison, Wis.


"Oh! Isn't that wonderful! I think that's just great!“ effused a pleased and surprised Mrs. McCanse. "I've always loved every bit of work I've done with the organization. Life wouldn't have been the same without it.”


In naming Fosdick, Murphy noted her particular pleasure at being "able to present this first award to a woman whose thinking I admire greatly and whose effort on behalf of this organization has not only shown itself to be substantial over the past year—more substantial than many people realize—but also prior to that." 


"I'm really surprised! I really do not deserve this award,” exclaimed Fosdick, of Naperville, 111., immediate Past President of NTC and long-time NTC leader. 


"When (Executive Director) Marieli (Rowe) and I had talked about the concept of this award, I saw this as an award for an individual who was involved in a specific project, whether inside or outside this organization, where the concept of media literacy became embodied in the project in me way or another. It could even be the producer of the television program. 


"I am from the trenches; I am the volunteer. I didn't see this award as coming to someone like myself. I really am touched. Thank you." 


Rowe noted that " 'the individual' Susan was talking about is a perfect description of Susan herself," and went on to describe Susan as a visionary who has provided fundamental leadership in forwarding the concept of media literacy. Rowe then presented the prototype plaque to Mrs. McCanse. A third plaque, to be displayed at the NTC offices, will bear the engraved name of each annual recipient. 


Timed to (nearly) coincide with Mrs. McCanse's 90th birthday on December 13, the awards ceremony was followed by the presentation of birthday cards and telegrams from admirers and colleagues from around the country, and bouquets honoring NTC's senior member. "I'm just overwhelmed," said Mrs. Mccanse in response to the consensus of appreciation. 


Jerry and Joyce Bartell, staunch members of NTC and consumer advocates for quality television programming, congratulated the honoree in a birthday note: 


"How often, Dear Jessie Mccanse, have we thought of your activity as a pathfinder in the thorny broadcasting thicket -- not an easy job, but rewarding. Ninety years of productive life is cause for a celebration in which we join joyfully. Now you must shoot for 100. Your rooting section has a high rating."