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Winners of 2006 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast News Award Announced

Columbia University today announced 13 winners of the 2006 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for broadcast journalism including, for the first time in duPont Award history, a sports program. HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel will be honored with a silver baton for its report, The Sport of Sheikhs, an investigation of child slavery connected to camel-racing in the United Arab Emirates .

Six of the winners are investigative reports produced by networks, cable news and local television stations reporting on hard-hitting issues of the day, such as terrorism, Wal-Mart's business practices, and corruption in municipal government. Awards also go to CNN and ABC News for live coverage of international events, the 2004 tsunami disaster and the death of Pope John Paul II. Three public radio organizations are honored for their distinctive programming about poverty, stem cell research, and cultural aspects of food.

"HBO really expanded the focus of sports programming to examine a human rights issue -- child slavery," said Jury Chairman David A. Klatell. "They tackled an unknown international story in a sport with traditions that are centuries old, and they included the ticklish diplomatic side -- that the United Arab Emirates is a close American ally in the Middle East," he added.

Bob Schieffer, anchor of The CBS Evening News and host of the duPont award ceremony

Chosen from a pool of 628 radio and television news entries that aired in the United States between July 1, 2004, and June 30, 2005, the winners will be presented with silver batons, the symbol for excellence in television and radio journalism, at an awards ceremony on January 18 at Columbia University . Hosting the ceremony will be Bob Schieffer, anchor of The CBS Evening News and moderator of Face the Nation. Joining him in presenting the silver batons will be Michel Martin, ABC News correspondent, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger and Journalism School Dean Nicholas Lemann. A one-hour documentary about the winners, Telling the Truth: the Best in Broadcast Journalism, hosted by Michel Martin, will be broadcast nationwide on PBS stations beginning Tuesday, January 24.

Selected from 628 submissions, the 13 award winners are:

•  ABC NEWS for Live Coverage of the Death of Pope John Paul II and the Election of Pope Benedict XVI

•  CNBC for The Age of Wal-Mart: Inside America's Most Powerful Company

•  CNN for Coverage of the Tsunami Disaster in South Asia

•  FRONTLINE and WGBH, BOSTON, for Al Qaeda's New Front on PBS

•  FRONTLINE, WGBH, BOSTON, and The New York Times for The Secret History of the Credit Card on PBS

•  HBO for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: The Sport of Sheikhs

•  North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC, Chapel Hill, for North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty

•  PRI,WGBH, BOSTON, and BBC WORLD SERVICE for The World: The Global Race for Stem Cell Therapies



•  WFTS-TV, TAMPA, for Crosstown Expressway Investigation

•  WJW, CLEVELAND, for School Bus Bloat

•  WPMI-TV, MOBILE, for For Lauren's Sake

Documentary to air on PBS stations beginning January 24

Michel Martin, ABC News correspondent and host of the PBS documentary Telling the Truth: The Best in Broadcast Journalism
In the New York area,
Telling the Truth
will air on Thirteen/WNET on
Thursday, January 26, at 10:00 p.m.
(Check local listings elsewhere.)

Telling the Truth: The Best in Broadcast Journalism, hosted by Michel Martin, will be broadcast nationwide on PBS stations beginning January 24. Award-winning FRONTLINE Producer Martin Smith is producer, writer and director of the one-hour program. Smith will shadow six of the duPont winners to examine how these skillful journalists get the facts, make editorial choices, and confront challenges along the way.

Summaries and Excerpts from the Jurors' Comments

ABC NEWS for Live Coverage of the Death of Pope John Paul II and the Election of Pope Benedict XVI

The passing of one Pope and the election of another were once-in-a-generation events, which were illuminated by the special events unit of ABC News. Its knowledgeable reporters were teamed with outstanding theological experts to expand on the religious and political implications of these events. The result was informed, respectful and pointed live coverage of events that had global significance.

Entire staff of ABC News Special Events: Marc Burstein, executive producer, special events; Charles Gibson and Bob Woodruff, anchors; David Westin, president, ABC News.

CNBC for The Age of Wal-Mart: Inside America's Most Powerful Company

A two-hour documentary about the corporate strategies of Wal-Mart

Reporter David Faber wove a comprehensive story about the tremendous growth and frugal corporate philosophy of the world's largest company, building on unprecedented access to Wal-Mart and its CEO Lee Scott . The business insights of Faber and the CNBC team permeated this detailed exposition of Wal-Mart's competitive advantage.

For CNBC: David Faber, reporter; Lori Gordon, producer; David Faber, Lori Gordon, Glen Rochkind, writers; Patrick Ahearn, editor; Wendy Lehman, coordinating producer; Angel Perez, director of photography; Glen Rochkind, executive producer.

CNN for Coverage of the Tsunami Disaster in South Asia

Breaking news coverage by CNN International and CNN

When the tsunami struck South Asia last December, CNN immediately leveraged its overseas bureaus by switching to CNN International to inform U.S. audiences about the disaster. This up-to-the-minute stream of coverage from a deep and nimble roster of correspondents on the ground in Asia demonstrated the power of well-informed reporting under pressure and in dangerous circumstances. CNN's detailed reporting across the entire region included contextual issues often missed in fast-breaking reporting.

Entire news division of CNN; Christiane Amanpour, Satinder Bindra, Aaron Brown, Jason Carroll, Matthew Chance, Mike Chinoy, Anderson Cooper, Shiulie Ghosh, Stan Grant, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Suhasini Haidar, Paula Hancocks, John King, Beth Nissen, Soledad O'Brien, Aneesh Raman, Ram Ramgopal, Shihab Rattansi, Hugh Riminton, Richard Roth, Atika Shubert, Harris Whitbeck, correspondents and anchors; Sue Bunda, senior vice president, CNN US; Jonathan Klein, president, CNN US; Chris Cramer, managing director, CNN International; Rena Golden, senior vice president, CNN International; Jim Walton, president, CNN News Group.

FRONTLINE and WGBH, Boston, for Al Qaeda's New Front

A prescient documentary on the spreading wave of terrorist bombings in Europe

By depicting the methods of Al Qaeda's operatives in Western Europe, this one-hour documentary proactively advanced the story of terrorism beyond Iraq and 9/11. Meticulously retracing the terrorist attacks on Madrid, the program eerily anticipated the London bombings and the recent riots in France . Counterterrorism experts confirmed that there has been little progress in combating security threats in Europe.

For FRONTLINE and WGBH: Lowell Bergman, correspondent for FRONTLINE and The New York Times; Neil Docherty, producer and director; Leslie Steven Onody, editor; Bruce Livesey, Michael R. Schreiber, associate producers; Paul Seeler, camera; Joe Passaretti, sound; Linden MacIntyre, correspondent for CBC; Will Lyman, narrator; David Studer, executive producer for CBC; David Fanning, executive producer for FRONTLINE.

FRONTLINE, WGBH, Boston, and The New York Times for The Secret History of the Credit Card

A comprehensive examination exposing the many pitfalls for consumers in America's credit-card economy

The calculated strategies of banks to export consumer debt to states that have no limits on interest rates or usury laws were laid bare in this one-hour documentary about the credit card industry. Consumer credit cards are now the most profitable products of commercial banks, and escalating interest rates have led to a wave of personal bankruptcies. FRONTLINEcollaborated on this investigation with The New York Times, producing a stunning fact-filled narrative with information vital to all American consumers.

For FRONTLINE, WGBH, Boston, and The New York Times: Lowell Bergman, correspondent for FRONTLINE and The New York Times; David Rummel, Nelli Kheyfets, producers; Brian Fassett, editor; Remy Weber, field producer; Robin Stein, Mike Schreiber, associate producers; Marlena Telvick, reporter; Will Lyman, narrator; Ann Derry, Lawrie Mifflin, executive producers for New York Times Television; David Fanning, executive producer for FRONTLINE.

HBO for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: The Sport of Sheikhs

A sports program investigating the exploitation of children as camel jockeys in the United Arab Emirates

Guided by a human rights worker, the HBO team used a hidden camera to document slavery and torture in secret desert camps where boys under the age of five were trained to race camels, a national sport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This half-hour investigative report exposed a carefully hidden child slavery ring that bought or kidnapped hundreds of young boys in Pakistan and Bangladesh . These boys were then forced to become camel jockeys in the UAE. The report also questioned the sincerity of U.S. diplomacy in pressuring an ally, the UAE, to comply with its own stated policy of banning the use of children under 15 from camel racing.

For HBO: Joseph Perskie, producer; Bernard Goldberg, correspondent; David Higgs, field producer; Ultan Byrne, editor; Bryant Gumbel, anchor; Nick Dolin, coordinating producer; Kirby Bradley, senior producer; Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein, executive producers.

North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC, Chapel Hill, for North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty

A series of special features and documentaries examining the many forms of poverty throughout North Carolina

This innovative set of programs captured the voices of many North Carolinians as they reflected on the signs of entrenched poverty in their state. Some reports were brief impressions; others examined the historical changes in poverty. With an impressive range of formats, voices, and perspectives, this elegantly produced series reflected a reporter's love of facts and a scholar's love of history.

For WUNC: Emily Hanford, senior editor and producer; Paul Cuadros, Dawn Dreyer, Jordana Gustafson, Leda Hartman, Rose Hoban, Leoneda Inge, Rusty Jacobs, Michelle Johnson, Alison Jones, Jessica Jones, Susan Leffler, Laura Leslie, Amy Nelson, Paul Overton, and James Todd, producers; Sharon Ball, John Biewen, Cheryl Devall, Neenah Ellis, Deborah George, Maria Martin, Marcus Rosenbaum and Ben Shapiro, editors; George Boosey, program director; Joan Siefert Rose, general manager.

PRI, WGBH, Boston, and BBC World Service for The World: The Global Race for Stem Cell Therapies

A four-part series about the scientific promise and ethical dilemmas of stem cell research

Embryonic stem cell research has become a hot-button issue, pitting potential scientific medical advances against ethical and religious objections to the use of these remarkable cells. Always balanced, the series began with a primer on stem cells and then covered the different paths of research and policies in Britain, Israel and China . Each segment dealt with a single complex issue to make it accessible while providing the parameters for reasonable debate. The series raised the prospect of the U.S. lagging behind other nations in exploring the benefits of this research because of its restrictive policies.

For PRI, WGBH, Boston, and BBC World Service: Clark Boyd, producer and reporter; Mary Kay Magistad, Aaron Schachter, reporters; David Baron, editor; Bob Ferrante, executive producer.

The Kitchen Sisters, Jay Allison and NPR for Hidden Kitchens

An inventive 14-part feature series about cooking and culture on NPR's Morning Edition

The Kitchen Sisters used unusual kitchens as cultural explorations, showing how the production and consumption of food revealed deeper truths about everything from an endangered farm family to homelessness in America . Each of the 14 seven-minute stories on NPR's Morning Edition centered on a specific food ritual, and each story was an auditory smorgasbord. Food programs are a staple on television, but these radio stories brought out the sociological side of food with intimacy and imagination.

The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva) and Jay Allison, producers; Neva Grant, editor for NPR.

The Sundance Channel, Denis Poncet, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and Allyson Luchak for The Staircase

A gripping independently produced documentary series chronicling the investigation and prosecution of a murder in North Carolina

In eight episodes totaling more than six hours, The Staircase told the riveting true story of the investigation and trial of Michael Peterson for the murder of his wife, Kathleen, and the impact on their blended family. The French production team obtained intimate access to the accused murderer, his family members, his lawyers and the trial itself in Durham, North Carolina . Even in the face of Peterson's conviction, the audience was left to ponder his guilt and the justice system.

For The Staircase: Denis Poncet, producer; Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, director; Allyson Luchak, co-producer; Isabelle Razavet, cinematographer; Yves Grasso, sound; Jocelyn Pook, composer; Sophie Brunet, Scott Stevenson, Jean-Pierre Bloc, editors.

WFTS-TV, Tampa, for Crosstown Expressway Investigation

A multi-part investigation of construction deficiencies in Tampa's $360 million highway expansion project

The investigative team at WFTS revealed significant breaches of public safety and public trust in Tampa, Florida, when they discovered more than 100 defective supports for a new elevated highway bridge. As the supporting piers began to sink, they reviewed engineering specifications and daily repair logs, carefully explaining the mistakes with diagrams and construction documents, even as local officials denied any serious problems. Later reports revealed that the Expressway Authority's executive director did not possess a valid engineering license.

For WFTS-TV: Mike Mason, reporter; Matt McGlashen, photojournalist and editor; Randy Wright, photojournalist; Aaron Wische, executive producer.

WJW, Cleveland, for School Bus Bloat

A multi-part investigation of Cleveland's inflated roster of substitute school bus drivers and bogus ridership figures

Investigative Reporter Tom Merriman reported a pattern of nearly empty school buses and idle standby drivers that wasted millions, while hundreds of teachers were laid off and bus routes were slashed. Over a nine-month period, he scrupulously documented how the Cleveland school district retained more than 200 substitute bus drivers who did little more than shoot pool and play games while on the payroll. Merriman confronted school officials and the mayor and interviewed a whistle-blower who had been ordered to inflate statistics on school bus ridership in state funding reports.

For WJW: Tom Merriman, reporter and producer; Mark DeMarino, field producer; Dave Hollis, videographer; Matt Rafferty, Chuck Rigdon, editors; Greg Easterly, executive producer and news director; Mike Renda, general manager.

WPMI-TV, Mobile, For Lauren's Sake

A four-part series about one disabled teenager and the flaws in Alabama's Medicaid policy

Reporter Bruce Mildwurf stood up to state authorities in questioning the threatened reduction of Medicaid nursing care for a severely disabled teenager, Lauren Rainey. Cutting down Lauren's nursing care would jeopardize her fragile health and make it impossible for her mother to work to support them. This was more than a heart-wrenching human interest story as Mildwurf revealed the flaws in Alabama's Medicaid policy. As a result of these reports, Alabama's Medicaid office adjusted its policy to continue home nursing care for Lauren and other children in similar situations.

For WPMI-TV: Bruce Mildwurf, reporter; Mike Corry, photojournalist; Joe Raia, news director.


Background Information on the Awards

The duPont baton was designed by renowned American architect Louis I. Kahn

Jury Composition

Serving on the nine-member jury with Chairman and Vice Dean David A. Klatell are: Roberta Baskin, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity and former network correspondent and producer for CBS, ABC and PBS; James W. Carey, CBS Professor of International Journalism, Columbia Journalism School, former PBS board member, and former dean, University of Illinois College of Communications; Barbara S. Cochran, president of the Radio-Television News Directors Association and former CBS News Washington bureau chief; Callie Crossley, media critic, Beat the Press, WGBH-TV, Boston, program manager, Nieman Foundation, and former producer, ABC News and the PBS series Eyes on the Prize; John Dinges, associate professor of journalism at Columbia and former editorial director of NPR; Cinny Kennard, manager of NPR's West Coast Production Center and former CBS News correspondent; John Martin, former ABC News correspondent and adjunct faculty member at Columbia; and George Strait, assistant vice chancellor for public affairs, University of California at Berkeley, and former chief medical correspondent for ABC News.


The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards honoring overall excellence in broadcast journalism were established in 1942 by Jessie Ball duPont in memory of her late husband, Alfred I. duPont. With his cousins, Mr. duPont transformed their gunpowder company into the chemical company E.I. duPont de Nemours. He later created a separate successful financial institution of his own in Florida and was owner of a chain of small-town, liberal newspapers in Delaware . The duPont Awards, administered since 1968 by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, are considered the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes, which the Journalism School also administers.

Baton Significance

Award winners receive batons designed by the late American architect Louis I. Kahn. The batons are inscribed with the famous observation about the power of television by the late Edward R. Murrow: "This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box." (Address to the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Chicago, October 15, 1958.)

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Published: Dec 14, 2005
Last modified: Mar 07, 2006