2021 duPont-Columbia Awards Finalists | Columbia Journalism School

2021 duPont-Columbia Awards Finalists

ABC15 Arizona

Abuse of Force

Dogged reporter Dave Biscobing examined video of a policeman’s abusive taser use and systemic problems in one Arizona police department.

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AJE Witness | MTV Documentary Films

Man marching with son and crowd

St. Louis Superman

In a deeply moving sidebar to the racial uprising in Ferguson, Missouri, an inner-city Black activist and “battle rapper” became an anti-violence legislator to honor his dead brother.

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astronaut with Earth in background

Chasing the Moon

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

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CBS 2 New York

window shot from interior of house

Forgotten Families

A relentless investigative series by CBS 2 New York revealed how New York City dumped homeless families into squalid housing in Newark, New Jersey and other communities.

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CBS News

doctor in face shield leans over man with respirator

Bravery and Hope: 7 Days on the Front Line

In the earliest days of the COVID crisis, a hospital at the epicenter granted CBS News unfettered access, for a gripping one-hour special that captured the extraordinary care delivered by doctors, nurses and EMT’s.


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Russia’s Secret Influence Campaigns

Reporter Clarissa Ward traced Russian efforts to subvert the 2020 Presidential campaign to a surprising place - an internet troll farm in Africa working to exploit fear among African American voters.

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Jeff Bezos headshot

Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos

As politicians and regulators consider the global impact of Amazon — and how to rein in founder Jeff Bezos’ power, reporter James Jacoby investigated how he built one of the most influential - and controversial - economic and cultural forces in the world.

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woman and baby in front of wreckage

For Sama

A powerful, harrowing 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.

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bearded man in Saudi headcovering

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

Reporter Martin Smith's yearslong reporting and analysis of the rise of Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia resulted in this trenchant FRONTLINE documentary that also underscored the Trump administration's unwavering support of the regime, no matter its sins.

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pizza and masked figures

After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News

This disturbing documentary untangled the web of conspiracy theorists and fake newsmakers to spotlight the corrosive impact of their efforts to undermine democracy.

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KDVR/FOX31 Denver

painting of Elijah McClain on brick wall

Police, Paramedics, and Ketamine: What Happened to Elijah McClain?

The death of a young Black man in police custody prompted reporter Lori Jane Gliha to conduct a tenacious investigation that led to officers being fired and a police chief being replaced.

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KING 5 News Seattle

older man sitting on bed

Bob's Choice

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

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KSTP Minneapolis

George Floyd standing in front of red brick wall

George Floyd Protest Coverage

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

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NBC Bay Area

man standing on train platform


With traditional shoe-leather reporting and innovative production, this online series documented San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and its descent into Wild West lawlessness.

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NBC News Digital

two men hold a third between them outdoors

A Different Kind of Force—Policing Mental Illness

This heartbreaking yet hopeful online documentary detailed the strained relationship between law enforcement and the mentally ill, with impressive up close and personal access to both sides of the intractable issue.

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man holding Union Yes sign in factory

American Factory

This engrossing feature documentary about a Chinese billionaire who came to the “rescue” of a shuttered General Motors plant in beleaguered Dayton, Ohio portrays the human and economic consequences of globalization.

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vintage photo of two young men in wheelchairs with a boy standing between them

Crip Camp

This inspiring 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.

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end of large wall in arid landscape and uniformed men

‘There Is No Protection’: How The ‘Remain In Mexico’ Policy Failed Migrants

NPR reporters traveled to gang-controlled towns inside the Mexican border for a series of radio reports that uncovered tragic personal stories of U.S. asylum seekers caught there, and the troubling impact of the Trump administration’s “remain in Mexico" policy.

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Sars-Cov-2 under microscope

Decoding COVID-19

NOVA combined stunning 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.

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man in flag and Statue of Liberty costume

Five Years North Documentary

Five Years North’s unparalleled access and observational approach provided nuance to a complex issue — America’s broken immigration system — by focusing on an undocumented teen working in New York City and the conflicted ICE agent who patrols his neighborhood.

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Radiotopia from PRX

Ear Hustle

This remarkable 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.

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The New York Times

concentric red and blue circles next to Times "T"

Rabbit Hole

This highly informative and entertaining podcast series guided listeners through the nascent history of the internet to help explain what it has done to our lives, our society and to the notion of truth.

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The New York Times

black smoke rising from brown landscape

The Russia Tapes: Tracing Attacks on Syrian Hospitals and Civilians

The New York Times Visual Investigative team used cutting edge digital techniques to present damning visual and forensic evidence, proving that Russian pilots bombed multiple Syrian hospitals and other locations filled with civilians.

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The Washington Post

Donald Trump holding Bible in front of greenery and church sign

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.

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Upper East Films | Independent Lens | PBS

female medical professional stands over prone male patient


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

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woman in headcovering wearing band around head reading "I love My India"

India Burning

VICE’s fearless 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.

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WFAA-TV Dallas

four people in coats walking on snowy, rocky terrain

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.

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WNBC-TV New York

Newscast with banner reading New York On Pause and city street near Times Square

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 courageous and thorough reporting on the virus’s explosion in New York City.

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WNYC Studios | Radiolab

outdoors, people holding Black Lives Matter banner near large confederate flag

The Flag and the Fury

This riveting 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.

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WNYC Studios | Radiolab

red and blue male silhouettes facing different directions with white text reading "The Other Latif"

The Other Latif

In this dazzling 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.

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