During her twenty-five years in broadcast journalism, KFOR-TV's Linda Cavanaugh has become nationally known for her accomplishments. This year, Linda was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame as "one of the most distinguished journalists in the history of the state". Through her leadership and innovation, she has set, and in many instances, raised the standards for broadcast journalists.
She began her career as a reporter/photographer. In a short time, she became the first female co-anchor of the evening newscasts at KFOR-TV and continues to anchor the 4:30p.m., 6p.m. and 10p.m. newscasts. But, while taking a seat behind the anchor desk, she never left the reporter's field. During her career, she has earned more than thirty national awards for her reporting as well as twice that many state and regional awards in addition to eleven Emmys from the Heartland Chapter of NATAS.
Her most recent national recognitions include the 1997 Headliner's Award, the 1997 Public Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Freedom Foundation's George Washington Medal of Honor. Linda Cavanaugh's career has been marked by a number of firsts. Her investigative reports on health conditions inside Oklahoma restaurants resulted in changes in the law. "Behind Kitchen Doors" moved lawmakers to open the inspection records of the health department so that consumers, for the first time, could be aware of violations.
She was the first non-network journalist from the United States allowed in the Soviet Union under that country's new "glasnost" in how much of Oklahoma's wheat crop was ending up on the tables of Russian families. George Washington University honored the project with its Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting.
In 1995, she traveled to Vietnam to become the first American journalist allowed in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, a prisoner of war camp where many American officers spent their last days. She was accompanied by former POW Dan Glenn, a Navy pilot who spent six years as a prisoner. Through her series, "Remember the Dragon", she told the story of a war that many Americans would like to forget as seen through the eyes of a man who never will.
Linda Cavanaugh's humanitarianism is as impressive as her journalism. An Oklahoma native, she has worked throughout her career to better her community and the state she calls home. It was through her efforts that support was spearheaded for the first hospice in Oklahoma. Her documentary, "A Time to Die", raised the seed money that was used to start Hospice of Oklahoma County - a non-profit organization that brought home care to the terminally ill.
Linda Cavanaugh approaches projects with an honesty and warmth that enables stories to be told that have never before been recorded. In the early nineties, she became the first journalist allowed to photograph ancient Indian rituals that had been closed to all except tribal members. Her resulting twelve part series "Strangers In Their Own Land" brought a sense of understanding and pride to Oklahoma's thirty-seven Indian tribes. Her documentary was later recognized with Delta Chi's national Distinguished Service Award as well as ten other national awards.