Sunderland journalist Kate Adie was honoured with a Bafta Fellowship award at a glittering ceremony in London.
The Fellowship is the highest accolade given out by Bafta, and previous recipients have included Joanna Lumley, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Bruce Forsyth, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Palin and David Attenborough.
Bafta chairwoman Jane Lush said Ms Adie, 72, deserved the award, because she was “a truly ground-breaking news journalist, being one of a very small number of women working to report the news from hostile environments around the world".
She added: "Throughout her career, she has brought audiences to the centre of the story by fearlessly reporting from the ground, whilst clearly and concisely explaining the complex issues to audiences at home.
"We are delighted to be celebrating her stellar career at this year’s ceremony; she is a true trailblazer and very deserving of the Fellowship Award.”
Ms Adie, who was raised in Sunderland and attended Church High School, took to the stage with her left wrist in a red sling, explaining it was due to "an accident in a pothole in a pavement".
Speaking about the importance of reporting, she said: "I started my working life with the BBC. I never imagined I would be a reporter, I was a humble station assistant.
"I've been very lucky, I think that being a reporter is just a wonderful job. It's fascinating, it's surprising. It demands a lot of you, but it is so rewarding.
"And, you get the chance via television to tell people at home all about it. It's a fabulous feeling.
"It's essential in a democracy, we tell truth to power. We tell it like it is and in these times that is more important than ever."
After Adie departed the stage, Perkins said: "You don't get disaster zone reporting like that any more, not unless it's Olly Murs trapped in Selfridges."
A former Chief News Correspondent for the BBC, Ms Adie has reported on many key conflicts and news stories.
She covered both Gulf Wars and four years of war in the Balkans as well as the final NATO intervention in Kosovo and disasters including Zeebrugge and the Selby rail crash.
She also reported on the Lockerbie bombing, the massacre at Dunblane and the Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing in 1989, among many other major news stories.