2021 duPont-Columbia Award Winners

CNN's Anderson Cooper and NPR's Michele Norris hosted this year's virtual Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards.

February 10, 2021

Columbia Journalism School announced the 15 winners of the 2021 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards during a special virtual presentation highlighting outstanding reporting in the public interest. Hosted by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and Michele Norris, former longtime NPR host and Washington Post opinion columnist, the hour-long special presentation “The 2021 duPont-Columbia Awards: Honoring the Best of Journalism,” premiered on PBS digital platforms on February 9. Special guest presenters included Dr. Anthony Fauci, Professor Jelani Cobb and 2019 duPont winner Mariska Hargitay.

“Courageously documenting the turbulent events of 2020, journalists performed a critical public service by reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice, the role of the internet in our politics, and much more,” said Cheryl Gould, duPont jury chair and former NBC News executive. “We are proud to honor these duPont winners and finalists for their outstanding work and their commitment to fact-finding and truth-telling in these unsettled times.”

Founded in 1942, the duPont-Columbia Awards ​uphold the highest standards in journalism by honoring winners annually, informing the public about those journalists' contributions and supporting journalism education and innovation.

The 2021 duPont-Columbia jurors are: Cheryl Gould, Lynne Adrine, Andy Bowers, David Bauder, Kate O’Brian, David Rummel, Madhulika Sikka, Betsy West, Mark Whitaker.

Read the full announcement here. 

The 2021 duPont-Columbia winners are:


Chasing the Moon

This documentary with long-forgotten video and news reports from the 1960s, afforded a definitive look at America's space race with the Soviet Union that led to the first men landing on the moon.


For Sama

A powerful documentary by filmmaker Waad al-Kateab went inside makeshift hospitals in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo to provide a personal lens into the country’s enduring conflict.

KING 5 News Seattle

Bob's Choice

In this local news documentary, KING 5 News chronicled a terminal cancer patient who, with humor and insight, decided to legally end his life.

KSTP-TV Minneapolis/St. Paul

George Floyd Coverage

As Minneapolis caught fire this year, KSTP produced sustained team coverage of one of the biggest stories of the year, maintaining a commitment to its hometown viewers.

NBC News Digital

A Different Kind of Force—Policing Mental Illness

This online documentary detailed the strained relationship between law enforcement and mentally ill individuals, with impressive access to both sides of the intractable issue.


Crip Camp

This historical film set in the civil rights era profiled a groundbreaking summer camp for disabled teens who helped build a movement and ultimately won passage of the American with Disabilities Act.


Decoding COVID-19

NOVA combined graphics and expert medical analysis with moving human stories in this hour-long primer on the coronavirus crisis, the doctors on its frontlines and researchers in the race for its cure.

Radiotopia from PRX

Ear Hustle

This podcast series about the daily realities inside San Quentin prison, produced by those living it, shattered the myths about serving time and what happens afterwards.

The Washington Post

Lafayette Reconstruction

Piecing together cell phone video, police phone logs, and other artifacts, the Washington Post’s digital team reconstructed the clearing of Lafayette Park for President Trump’s “Bible photo op,” driving home the disconnect between political ends and violent means.

Upper East Films & Independent Lens | PBS


The verité documentary Bedlam takes viewers inside an overwhelmed psychiatric ER for a painful reminder that America has turned its back on treatment for mentally ill individuals, who are often criminalized or left to fend for themselves.


India Burning

Vice’s eyewitness reporting revealed the extent to which the Indian government is moving towards declaring its Muslim population second class citizens in an historic effort to undermine India’s secular roots.

WFAA-TV Dallas

Verify Road Trip: Climate Truth   

In a fresh take on climate change, producers of this ongoing series devoted an episode to taking a skeptical viewer on a reporting trip to meet and question scientists, and to witness the damning evidence firsthand.

WNBC-TV New York

The Epicenter of the Coronavirus Pandemic

This extensive collection of breaking news, feature, and memorial stories created a 360 view in real time of the coronavirus pandemic, with thorough reporting on the virus’s explosion in New York City.

WNYC Studios | Radiolab | OSM Audio

The Flag and the Fury

This podcast episode recounted the clash of Mississippi culture, politics and family, in an evocative history of the last American state to include the Confederate battle flag on their state flag.

WNYC Studios | Radiolab

The Other Latif

In this audio series, reporter Latif Nasser illustrated the toll of the decades-long global war on terror in his quest to find out how another Latif Nasser ended up in Guantanamo and why he’s still there, despite being cleared to leave.