NEW YORK – Coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, the police murder of George Floyd, climate change and other issues – from the Syrian Civil War to the Cold War era space race – won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for 2021, the University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced on Tuesday.
PBS ‘Nova and New York’s WNBC-TV won for coverage of the pandemic, while St. Paul’s KSTP-TV was recognized for its coverage of Floyd’s death and subsequent protests.
The Washington Post was honored for its digital reconstruction of another point in the demonstrations that led to a racist settlement in the US: the forcible eviction of peaceful protesters from Washington’s Lafayette Square before then-President Donald Trump walked over it with a Bible in it to pose in front of a church.
WNYC Studios’ Radiolab podcast and production company OSM Audio were honored for an episode about how Mississippi decided in late June to withdraw its state flag, the last in the US to feature the Confederate Battle emblem. The award was one of two for “Radiolab” and three for podcasts.
In a year when the pandemic is still ruling news and life around the world, the winners were announced Tuesday night in a presentation on PBS’s digital platforms with CNN host Anderson Cooper and Washington Post columnist as well as the Former NPR co-host Michele Norris virtually honored hosting. One of the speakers was Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US Government’s foremost infectious disease expert.
The 1942 awards recognize broadcast, cable, online, documentary and streaming journalism.
“Journalists bravely documented the tumultuous events of 2020 and performed a critical public service covering the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice, the role of the internet in our politics and more,” said Cheryl Gould, Chair of the Awards Jury and a former NBC News Executive.
Mental health coverage was recognized with two awards, with wins for NBC News Digital’s coverage of police interactions with the mentally ill and Upper East Films’ documentation of a psychiatric emergency room.
An unusual take on climate change reporting – a skeptic who meets with scientists and sees clues about global warming in Alaska – was recognized for WFAA-TV Dallas.
Also honored were:
- PBS ‘”American Experience” for the retrospective of the space race between the USA and the Soviet Union.
- PBS’s “Frontline” for admitting viewers to makeshift hospitals in civil war-ravaged Syria.
- “Radiolab” in a second victory for the war on terror research by reporter Latif Nasser in the case of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner who shares his name.
- “Radiotopia” from the public radio and podcast platform PRX for a series about life in San Quentin Prison, California.
- Showtime’s “Vice” for reporting on the Indian government’s treatment of the country’s Muslim population.
- KING 5 News Seattle, for the right to die through the eyes of a terminally ill cancer patient.
- Netflix for “Crip Camp,” a film about a summer camp for disabled youth and the rise of disability rights activism in the 1970s.