N. J. Burkett
Correspondent, WABC-TV New York
N.J. Burkett is one of America’s most accomplished local television news correspondents. He joined WABC-TV in 1989, and his distinctive storytelling, production skills and award-winning international reporting have added a unique dimension to the station’s coverage of metropolitan New York.
Over his thirty-year career, he has reported on everything from war and diplomacy to crime and politics; from aviation disasters to natural disasters, race relations and police misconduct.
On September 11, 2001, after the two jets struck the World Trade Center, Burkett his photographer narrowly escaped the subsequent collapse of the South Tower. Their work was later seen on television news broadcasts across the nation and around the world and is on permanent exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, DC.
Burkett spent nearly three months covering the war in Iraq in 2003, and the military build-up that preceded it. He covered the terrorist bombings in Madrid (2004) and London (2005), as well as the war between Israel and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon (2006), the Israeli-Hamas War in Gaza (2009-10) as well as three Israeli national elections and the death of Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat (2004). Burkett witnessed the historic Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (2005) and chronicled the Palestinian popular uprising, known as the Intifadeh, in a series of overseas assignments from 2000-2004.
He was the only local New York television news correspondent to report from Japan after the historic 9.0 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in 2011, and the first among his colleagues to report from Haiti after the earthquake there, in 2010.
In New York, Burkett has been WABC-TV’s lead reporter for many of the region’s biggest stories, from Superstorm Sandy to the crash of TWA Flight 800 and landmark police misconduct trials. When a growing number of homeless New Yorkers complained that the city’s municipal shelters were unsafe, Burkett went undercover for several weeks in the winter of 2001, disguised as a homeless man. He and an undercover photographer slept in New York’s most notorious men’s shelter.
Burkett’s work has been honored with several of the most prestigious awards in American television news. He is a two-time winner of the coveted Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (formerly the RTNDA) and a four-time Emmy Award winner, including the Emmy for Outstanding On-Camera Achievement in 2003 and 2007. Burkett has received fifteen Emmy Nominations.
He shared the George Foster Peabody Award and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award with his colleagues at ABC News for his reporting on the September 11th terrorist attacks. In 2008, he was presented with the Allen B. DuMont Broadcaster of the Year Award by Montclair State University for his “significant contributions to the field of broadcasting.”
Burkett is the First Vice Chairman of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and a former Trustee and past President of the Academy’s flagship chapter in New York.
His full name is Newton Jones Burkett. Before joining WABC-TV, Burkett was a correspondent for WFSB-TV, the CBS station in Hartford, CT., from 1986-1989. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a Master’s in International Affairs, both from Columbia University.