Earlier in 2012, Jack was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). He was also inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and he was one of only five New England journalists to receive the prestigious 2012 Yankee Quill Award which is considered to be the highest individual honor awarded by fellow journalists in the region and is presented annually by the Academy of New England Journalists.
During his career Williams has received four Emmy Awards; two for individual reporting for the series “Crisis at Birth” and one for the “Wednesday’s Child” series. In 2001, he was honored with the Governor’s Award from the New England Emmy organization, recognizing his career accomplishments.
Williams’ interest in broadcasting began at the age of 13 when he built his own radio station at home in Idaho. Two years later he was hired by Idaho radio station KYTE as an announcer. In 1964 Williams began working full-time as a radio news reporter.
His career as a television journalist got its start in 1968 and since, Williams has been recognized by numerous organizations for his reporting skills, commitment to the community and for his work on behalf of his weekly news series “Wednesday’s Child,” which he created in 1981. Each Wednesday on WBZ-TV News at 6PM, “Wednesday’s Child” features a special needs child who is in search of a permanent home. Williams is responsible for raising more than $7,000,000 for special needs adoption. In April 2000, Williams created the Jack Williams Endowment for Wednesday’s Child, a 501(C) (3) charity to ensure continued financial support for special needs adoption. Each year Jack and his wife Marci give $330,000 in grants to agencies and group homes helping special needs children find adoptive homes.
Prior to joining WBZ-TV in 1975, Williams worked at KIRO-TV in Seattle, Washington and KORK-TV in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was a news anchor and news director.
In 1984 Williams received the first national media award ever presented by the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps (TASH). In 1987 Boston University Law School gave Williams the N. Neal Pike Prize for service to handicapped persons and, in January 1990, he was presented with the Martin Luther Burstein Volunteer Award.
In 1996, Williams was chosen to be a Phi Beta Kappa Fellow. The organization, which is limited to 300 members nationally, recognizes those who have shown outstanding achievement in their careers and high cultural and intellectual ideals. In 1999, he was elected to the National Board of Fellows and is now an officer on that board. In the spring of 2005, Williams was appointed to the prestigious national position of a member of Phi Beta Kappa’s Council Nominating Committee, joining some well-known academics as well as historian and Pulitzer Prize winner David Levering Lewis.
In 1997 Williams was honored at the White House by President Bill Clinton and the First Lady, with the first Adoption 2002 Excellence Award. Williams and twelve others were singled out for individual achievement for their efforts on behalf of special needs adoption. Williams also received a Presidential Citation from President Ronald Reagan for “Wednesday’s Child” in June 1986 in the Rose Garden at the White House.
Williams has received eight honorary doctorate degrees from schools throughout New England including Curry College, Salem State, Fitchburg State College, Merrimack College, Framingham State College, Worcester State College, Newbury College and Wheelock College. He also received an honorary associated-arts-degree from Massasoit Community College. In 2011, Williams was given a lifetime achievement award from Emerson College in Boston.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Oregon, Williams earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism. He received the Harold E. Fellows Memorial Fellowship from the National Association of Broadcasters and was voted a member of the national Kappa Tau Alpha Journalistic honorary society. Williams was inducted into the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication Hall of Achievement in November 2005.
About the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association
The Massachusetts Broadcasters Association (MBA) is the only voluntary, statewide trade organization serving the Bay State’s over-the-air radio and television stations. The Association’s key responsibilities include assisting its members with general and broadcast-specific business challenges and assisting in the networking of fellow broadcasters. The MBA aims to promote broadcasting as a viable and exciting career choice by offering annual scholarships and maintaining an online database of available jobs for individuals searching for a career in radio or television, as well as the opportunity to post a resume online. Please visit www.massbroadcasters.org for more information.