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Frontline's Fanning Wins Journalism Award, To Speak at J-School Ceremony, May 19

David Fanning
Credit: David Lutch

David Fanning, executive producer of PBS' Frontline, will receive the 2004 Columbia Journalism Award on May 19 at the University. The prize is the highest honor awarded by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism faculty and recognizes singular journalistic performance in the public interest.

Upon accepting the 2004 Columbia Journalism Award, Fanning will share some of his experiences and insights with master's degree candidates at the Journalism School's May 19 commencement ceremony. The event is for ticket-holders only.

"David Fanning and his signature program, Frontline, have turned a commitment to probing journalism and public service into an enduring national conversation, without which far too many important issues would remain veiled or hidden altogether," said David Klatell, associate dean for academic affairs.

Fanning has been executive producer of Frontline, which originates from Boston PBS station WGBH, since the program's inception in 1983. The investigative documentary series has aired for 21 seasons and won major awards for broadcast journalism, among them, 29 Emmys, 16 duPont-Columbia University Awards and 11 Peabody Awards.

More than a decade before his tenure at Frontline, Fanning, a South Africa native, produced films on religious and racial issues in that country, including programs for BBC-TV. In 1973, he came to the United States and began producing local and national documentaries for PBS, initially with KOCE-TV in Huntington, California.

WGBH first hired Fanning in 1980 to develop a weekly program called World. He then produced and co-wrote the docudrama "Death of a Princess" with director Antony Thomas, and in 1982, also with Thomas, the Emmy award-winning investigative documentary Frank Terpil: Confessions of a Dangerous Man.

That same year, Fanning began developing Frontline for WGBH, and soon after, two shorter PBS series, "Adventure" and Ring of Fire, a four-part travel series exploring Indonesia. In 2001, his desire to increase coverage of foreign news in America led to the birth of a magazine-style TV series called Frontline/World.

On May 18, Walter Pincus, well-known staff writer for the Washington Post, will deliver the annual Henry F. Pringle Memorial Lecture on national affairs for the school's Journalism Day event on campus. Pincus is a co-recipient of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for his stories on Osama bin Laden. He also won a George Polk Award in 1978 for his Post stories on nuclear weapons. Over the years, Pincus has written on a multitude of national news subjects including arms control, the American hostages in Iran , the Iran-Contra affair and investigations of Congress and the government's executive branch.

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Published: May 14, 2004
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005

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