Graduate School of Journalism Announces 14 Winners of the 2012 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards

December 21, 2011

Fourteen winners of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards were announced today by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Seven of this year’s recipients featured international reporting including stories from Al Jazeera English, CBS News, and NBC News. Four local television stations will be honored, including Detroit Public TV. HBO will be honored with two awards.

For the first time, two awards will be given for digital reporting: one to The New York Times and one to MediaStorm. In another first, a theatrically released documentary that has not been broadcast was selected for a duPont Award, “Hell and Back Again.” A finalist award will also be given to WNYC’s Radio Rookies.

“This truly dynamic group of news organizations and journalists represent the best in broadcast and digital news reporting,” said Bill Wheatley, duPont Jury chair, former executive vice president of NBC News and adjunct faculty member at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. “Journalists are using technology in new ways to effectively tell these important stories covering the news, issues and events that are critical to our society.”

Al Jazeera English will receive its first duPont silver baton for an uncompromising documentary about shortcomings in the recovery efforts in Haiti. CBS News “60 Minutes” will be honored for Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Lara Logan’s harrowing report from the frontlines of the war in Afghanistan, and NBC News will be honored with Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel for their outstanding breaking news coverage of the Arab Spring uprisings. NOVA’s gripping documentary about the science and the human stories behind Japan’s devastating earthquake will receive an award. A documentary about the human cost of the war in Afghanistan by Danfung Dennis will also receive a duPont Award.

The New York Times will be honored with an award shared by two digital stories, an engaging multimedia report that chronicled a deployment of soldiers to Afghanistan, and a story that followed two badly wounded Haitian children through treatment and recovery. The second award for digital reporting will go to MediaStorm and photojournalist Walter Astrada for a haunting multimedia story about India’s lethal social customs that devalue the lives of women and girls.

Excellent local reporting will be honored from an ambitious series about energy from Detroit Public TV, to a WFAA-TV, Dallas series of investigative reports about corrupt practices at local trade schools, WSB-TV, Atlanta’s dogged investigative series about sovereign citizens and housing fraud, and WTVF-TV, Nashville’s relentless look at state agencies’ abuse of the law for profit.

HBO will receive two duPont Awards; HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel for breaking new ground on the issue of concussions and sports, and HBO Documentary for a riveting historical documentary about the 1911 Triangle Fire. Other awards include WNYC Radio for an investigative series about the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policy, and WNYC’s Radio Rookies will be a finalist for an unflinching series of self-portraits by young people.

Scott Pelley, CBS News anchor and managing editor, and Michele Norris from NPR will host the duPont Awards ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library. Pelley made a video announcement about the winners that can be seen here.

The 14 winning programs and finalist program appeared on air, online or in theaters between June 30, 2010 and July 1, 2011. The duPont Awards annual screening process is rigorous. Two groups of screeners made up of past winners, media professionals and educators, a total of over 100 people, screened the entries before the winners were selected by the duPont Jury in late October.

The duPont Jury looks for accurate and fair reporting about important issues that are powerfully told. Breaking news coverage, reporting with innovative storytelling and content, and stories that have made an impact in the public interest are also paramount. Learn more about the Jury and the selection processhere.

The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards will celebrate their 70th Anniversary in 2012. The awards honor excellence in broadcast and digital journalism and were established in 1942 by Jessie Ball duPont in memory of her husband, Alfred I. duPont. The awards are generously supported by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.

by Columbia News Staff