Announcing the 2021 duPont-Columbia Awards Finalists
First-Ever duPont-Columbia Award Finalists Announced
CBS News, CNN, HBO, NBC News, NETFLIX, VICE and FRONTLINE among honorees
New York, N.Y., November 12 — Columbia Journalism School announced the 30 finalists of the 2021 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards today, the first time the jury has ever selected a group of finalists for the duPont Silver Baton. The duPont-Columbia finalists covered the most critical, and in some cases dangerous, stories of the year including the coronavirus pandemic, policing in America and protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
At a time when journalists were branded as “enemies of the people” spreading “fake news,” facing arrest for doing their jobs and the threat of coronavirus while covering public events and breaking news, the jury selected a larger number of stories in the public service across platforms. The winners of the duPont awards will be announced in January 2021.
“These are unprecedented times, and we wanted to spotlight a wider range of outstanding journalism that is so crucial to making sense of our world,” said Lisa R. Cohen, Director of the duPont-Columbia Awards. “These finalists rose to the top of a very competitive group.”
“In a year when truth was under assault and a pandemic raged across the globe, journalists took on an especially important role under difficult circumstances,” said Cheryl Gould, duPont Jury Chair and former NBC News executive. “The duPont-Columbia Awards recognize the stellar reporting which informed the public at a critical time, helped hold officials accountable, and supported our democracy.”
PBS leads the list with five finalists, including three for FRONTLINE. NETFLIX and The New York Times each have two entries on the finalist list. Four podcasts are featured, two from WNYC Studios Radiolab. CBS News is a finalist for their coronavirus coverage. Other duPont finalists include: NPR and Optimist for reporting on the immigration crisis; HBO and CNN for coverage of the rise of disinformation; NBC News Digital and Upper East Films reported on mental illness in America; The Washington Post, VICE and AJE Witness | MTV Documentary Films examined unrest and uprisings at home and abroad.
Eight local television stations, including two from New York, are also being honored as duPont finalists: ABC15 Arizona, CBS 2 New York, KDVR/FOX31 Denver, KING 5 Seattle, KSTP Minneapolis, NBC Bay Area, WFAA-TV Dallas and WNBC-TV New York.
How to Enter
Eligiblity period: Programming that has appeared between July 1 to June 30 of the following year.
At a Glance
We encourage the submission of daily news stories and breaking news coverage as well as feature stories, documentaries and interactive multimedia reporting on critical subjects. You may submit a series of related reports or selections from a correspondent's beat reporting in a given year. Investigative stories are also encouraged. Work should demonstrate consistent high quality over time, with accurate and fair reporting. An in-depth entry guide/FAQ is available here. Click the arrow below for more guidelines on how to enter.
We invite submissions from the following platforms:
- Interactive & Multimedia Productions: including online video
- Network & Cable Programs
- Major Market Stations
- Medium Market Stations
- Small Market Stations
- Independent Productions/Documentary (including festival and theatrical release)
- Local & National Radio/Audio
- Programs must have appeared on air, online or in theaters for the first time between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020.
- Entries must have appeared in the United States.
- An entry in a language other than English is eligible, as long as it is accompanied by English subtitles on screen (preferred) or a complete transcript in English.
- Journalistic treatments of historical periods and their relevance to current issues are eligible. However, programs that are principally historical re-enactments with actors and costumes are not eligible for duPont consideration.
- Funding information for independent productions is mandatory.
- Please contact us if the work may have been submitted previously.
Submitting your media
Entrants are responsible for hosting their media. If the entry resides online, please provide a direct link to the piece ad free. Otherwise, please upload it to a site such as YouTube (ad free) or Vimeo. Links must remain live through January 2021. If your media is password protected, please provide the password where requested on the entry form. (This will only be shared with our screeners & jurors.) *For entries with multiple links, please include a list of the links in the “program description” on your entry form.
- Entry Process opens: May 1, 2020
- Deadline: July 1, 2020
- Extensions are limited and granted at the sole discretion of the Director.
- Judging process: July - October 2020
- Winners are notified/announced: Nov.-Dec. 2020
- Award Ceremony: January 2021
Review and selection
Entries are reviewed by a Board of Screeners, many of whom are past duPont Award winners. The Board of Screeners refer the best programs to the duPont Jury. Winners are selected by the jury in the fall. The awards are presented at Columbia University in January.
To complete the application, you will need:
- a brief program description of your entry
- credit listing (name, title)
- a dedicated URL where the media for your entry is hosted online, including password if applicable (must be live through January 2020)
- any additional supporting materials in PDF format.
- Network & Cable: $250
- Local Television:
- Market Size 1-10: $150
- Market Size 11-50: $100
- Market Size 51-212: $100
- Radio/Audio: $150
- Independent Productions/Documentary: $100
- Interactive/Multimedia/Online Productions: $100
Credit card payment preferred. Checks are also accepted by mail. Make checks payable to the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards. Click here for additional FAQ & Submission Guidelines
About the duPont-Columbia Awards
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, thereby cultivating a collective spirit for the profession.
Visit us at On Assignment Podcast for podcast episodes featuring our winners as well as information about events, including our Film Fridays documentary screening series.
For the latest duPont Awards updates follow us on Twitter @ColumbiaJourn.
Every year about a dozen news stories and films are honored by the duPont-Columbia University Awards for the strength of their reporting, storytelling and impact in the public interest. The winning pieces are selected by the duPont jury from hundreds of entries vetted by a board of screeners. The awards are presented at Columbia University’s Low Library in a ceremony hosted by some of the country’s leading broadcast journalists. The evening features highlights of the award-winning reporting.
duPont Winners Archive
Click the arrow below for the full archive of previous winners.
“Bully,” Lee Hirsch, The Weinstein Company, Where We Live Films, BeCause Foundation, The Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, The Fledgling Fund, National Center for Learning Disabilities, and The Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention
Finalist: WNYC, "Radio Rookies: Coming Up in 2011"
North Carolina Public Radio/WUNC, Chapel Hill, “North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty”
PRI, WGBH-TV, Boston, and BBC World Service, “The World: The Global Race for Stem Cell Therapies”
The Kitchen Sisters, Jay Allison and NPR, “Hidden Kitchens”
SILVER BATON ABC News, "Nightline: The State vs. Simpson: The Verdict," "Nightline: Journey of a Country Doctor," "Nightline: Town Meeting: Thou Shall Not Kill"
SILVER BATON WFAA-TV, Dallas, Texas, For investigate reporting
GOLD BATON ABC News, "World News Tonight: Coverage of Haiti by Linda Pattillo," "American Agenda: Women's Health Week," "Day One: Smoke Screen," "Turning Point: Inside the Struggle: The Amy "Biehl Story," "Peter Jennings Reporting: While America Watched--The Bosnia Tragedy"
SILVER BATON Blackside Inc., "The Great Depression" on PBS
SILVER BATON CBS News, "60 Minutes: Semipalatinsk"
SILVER BATON Charles Kuralt, for reporting on CBS News, "Sunday Morning"
SILVER BATON CNN, Coverage of the Moscow Uprising
SILVER BATON Michael Skoler and NPR for coverage of Rwanda
SILVER BATON NPR for coverage of South Africa
SILVER BATON PBS, "Frontline: Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo"
SILVER BATON Video Verite, "I am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School" on HBO
SILVER BATON WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, Minnesota "Missing the Beat"
SILVER BATON WGBH, "Frontline: Innocence Lost: The Verdict" on PBS
SILVER BATON Wisconsin Pubic Television, "My Promised Land: Bernice Cooper's Story"on PBS
SILVER BATON WTVS-TV, Detroit, Michigan "The Last Hit: Children and Violence"
GOLD BATON Fred Friendly, winner for his lifetime contribution to the ethics and practice of journalism
SILVER BATON WBAI/Pacifica Radio for "Massacre: The Story of East Timor"
SILVER BATON Bill Leonard, former producer at CBS News and director of the duPont Awards
GOLD BATON National Public Radio, "All Things Considered," "Morning Edition," "Weekend Edition," Coverage of Clarence Thomas Nomination Hearings, Coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and Aftermath, Voices from the Backstairs, American Folklife Radio Project, and The Case Against Women: Sexism in the Court
SILVER BATON National Public Radio for coverage of the Gulf War
SILVER BATON PBS, Friends of Le Chambon, Pierre Sauvage, "Weapons of the Spirit"
SILVER BATON Blackside Inc., "Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads"
SILVER BATON Helen Borten and National Public Radio for "Horizons: And Justice for All"
SILVER BATON KCBS-AM, San Francisco, California, for coverage of the earthquake
SILVER BATON KQED-TV, San Fransciso, California, Scott Pearson and Lewis Cohen, "Express: Shield for Abuse"
SILVER BATON NBC News, "NBC Nightly News: Tragedy at Pine Ridge"
SILVER BATON National Public Radio, "AIDS and Black America: Breaking the Silence"
GOLD BATON WGBH and Frontline: "Remember My Lai," "The Spy Who Broke the Code," "Who Profits From Drugs?," "The Choice," and "Children of the Night"
SILVER BATON Nina Totenberg and National Public Radio, Coverage of the Supreme Court Nominations
SILVER BATON Roberta Baskin and WJLA-TV, Washington, D.C. For Investigative Reporting
SILVER BATON WFAA-TV, Dallas, Texas, SMU Investigation
SILVER BATON WLAP Radio, Lexington, Kentucky, "Passing On the Secret of Sexual Abuse"
SILVER BATON NBC Radio News, For coverage of the American raid on Tripoli
SILVER BATON WCBS-TV, New York, New York, "No Place to Call Home"
SILVER BATON Desert West News, Tuscon, Arizona, For a series of radio reports on the American Sanctuary Movement
SILVER BATON KNX Radio, Los Angeles, California, "Assignment 84/85"
SILVER BATON WDVM-TV, Washington, DC, Investigation of Dr. Milan Vuitch
SILVER BATON KOSU Radio, Stillwater, Oklahoma, "Selling the Public Spectrum"
SILVER BATON ABC News, "Closeup: The Gene Merchants"
SILVER BATON ABC News, "Viewpoint"
SILVER BATON CBS News, "CBS Reports: People Like Us"
SILVER BATON Chester Panzer and WJLA-TV, Washington DC, For Air Florida crash coverage
SILVER BATON Dallas Townsend and CBS Radio, "World News Round-Up"
SILVER BATON Gannett Broadcasting Group, "Epidemic! Why Your Kid is On Drugs"
SILVER BATON KAIT-TV, Jonesboro, Arkansas, "The Economics of Water"
SILVER BATON KMTV-TV, Omaha, Nebraska, "McClelland Care Facility"
SILVER BATON KNXT-TV, Los Angeles, California, for Investigative Reporting
SILVER BATON KSL-TV, Salt Lake City, Utah, For Probe Five investigating reporting
SILVER BATON SPECIAL INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION AWARD: Robert Richter and WNET-TV New York, New York "For Export Only: Pesticides and Pills"
SILVER BATON WMAQ-TV, Chicago, Illinois, "All the King's Horses"
SILVER BATON WPLG-TV, Miami, Florida, "Human Cargo"
SILVER BATON ABC News, "America Held Hostage: The Secret Negotiations"
SILVER BATON CBS News, Charles Kuralt, “Sunday Morning”
SILVER BATON CBS News, Dan Rather, "CBS REPORTS: The Defense of the United States"
SILVER BATON David Productions and ABC News, "CLOSEUP: Can't it Be Anyone Else?"
SILVER BATON KCTS-TV, Dr. Willard Gaylin, "Hard Choices"
SILVER BATON National Public Radio, "Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown"
SILVER BATON Robert Spencer and WTTW-TV, Chicago, Illinois, "Six O'clock and All's Well"
SILVER BATON SPECIAL INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION AWARD: KTEH-TV, San Jose, California and John Else, "The Day After Trinity"
SILVER BATON SPECIAL TRIBUTE: David Brinkley
SILVER BATON WBBM-TV, Chicago, Illinois, "Election Night Coverage"
SILVER BATON WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dave Moore, The Moore Report
SILVER BATON WGBH-TV, Boston, Massachusetts, "WORLD"
SILVER BATON WPLG-TV, Miami, Florida, "The Billion Dollar Ghetto"
SILVER BATON ABC News, "The Iran Crisis: America Held Hostage"
SILVER BATON Ed Bradley and CBS News, "CBS Reports: Blacks in America: With All Deliberate Speed?"
SILVER BATON Group W and KYW-TV, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; WBZ-TV, Boston, Massachusetts; WJZ-TV, Baltimore Maryland for I-Team Investigations
SILVER BATON Mississippi Center for Educational Television, Jackson, Mississippi, "William Faulkner: A Life on Paper"
SILVER BATON National Public Radio, "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition"
SILVER BATON Perry Miller Adato and WNET-TV, New York, New York, "Picasso: A Painter's Diary"
SILVER BATON Red Cloud Productions and WGBY-TV, Springfield, Massachusetts, "Joan Robinson: One Woman's Story"
SILVER BATON Roger Mudd and CBS News, “CBS Reports: Teddy
SILVER BATON Rueven Frank and NBC News, "White Paper: If Japan Can...Why Can't We?
SILVER BATON Special Independent Production Award: Carol Mon Pere, Sandra Nichols and KTEH-TV, San Jose, California "The Battle of Westlands
SILVER BATON Special Tribute: Walter Cronkite
SILVER BATON Walter Jacobson and WBBM-TV, Chicago, Illinois, "Perspectives"
SILVER BATON WLS-TV, Chicago, Illinois and Chicago Sun-Times, "The Accident Swindlers"
ABC News, "Closeup: Arson: Fire for Hire!" and "World News Tonight: Second to None?"
Bill Moyers, for outstanding reporting on CBS News and WNET-TV, New York
CBS News, "CBS Reports: The Boat People" and "60 Minutes"
KCTS-TV, Seattle, "Do I Look Like I Want to Die?"
KDFW-TV, Dallas, for investigative reporting
KUTV-TV, Salt Lake City, "Clouds of Doubt"
KXL Radio, Portland, "The Air Space -- How Safe?"
WGBH-TV, Boston, "WORLD: F-16: Sale of the Century" on PBS
WHA-TV, Madison, Catalyst Films and Wisconsin Educational Television Network, "An American Ism: Joe McCarthy"
Associated Press Radio, "The New South: Shade Behind the Sunbelt"
KOOL-TV, Phoenix, Burt Kennedy, “Water: Arizona's Most Precious Resource”
KPIX-TV, San Francisco, Robert Klein and Richard Hart, “Laser Con-Fusion”
National Geographic Society and WQED-TV, Pittsburgh, “The Living Sands of Namib”
NBC News, Robert Rogers and Garrick Utley, “NBC News Reports: Africa's Defiant White Tribe”
WBBM-TV, Chicago, Illinois, Gail Sikevitz, Scott Craig, Jim Hatfield, and Mort Crime for documentary reporting
WFAA-TV, Dallas, Texas, Byron Harris for investigative report
WGBH-FM, Boston, "Banned in Chelsea"
WGBH-TV, Boston and William Cran, “WORLD: Chachaji: My Poor Relation” and John Angier, “NOVA: The Final Frontier”
WMHT-TV, Schenectady, “Capital Punishment: Inside Albany”
WPLG-TV, Miami and Clarence Jones for investigative reporting
Special Award: Richard Salant
Group W and Paul Wilkes, “Six American Families”
KCET-TV, Los Angeles, “28 Tonight,”
KGW-TV, Portland, “The Timber Farmers”
NBC News, “Human Rights: A Soviet-American Debate” and “NBC Reports: The Struggle for Freedom”
Walter Cronkite and the “CBS Evening News”
WBBM-TV, Chicago, Scott Craig and Bill Kurtis, “Once a Priest”
WFAA-TV, Dallas “Clear and Present Danger”
WNET-TV, New York and WETA-TV, Washington D.C., “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report” for “Carter’s Energy Plan,” “Woodward-Bernstein: Frost Interview,” and “Korea and Congress: the Scandal So Far”
WNET-TV, New York “The Police Tapes”
KNBC, Burbank, California, Don Harris, “Prison Gangs”
NBC Nightly News andTom Pettit for a series on feeding the poor
NPR, All Things Considered
WBTV, Charlotte, for news and documentary programming
WCCO, Minneapolis, Minnesota, David Moore, “Moore on Sunday”
WCCO-Radio, Minneapolis, for news and documentary programming
WGBH, Boston, Roger Fisher, “Arabs and Israelis”
WHEC, Rochester and Warren Doremus, “The Riots Plus Ten Years”
WKYC, Cleveland and Brian Ross, “Teamster Power”
WPLG, Miami and Clarence Jones, for crime reporting
ABC News, Av Westin, "Close-Up"
CBS News, Don Hewitt, “60 Minutes”
KFWB Radio, Los Angeles, "SLA 54th Street Shootout"
KNXT, Los Angeles, “Why Me?”
NBC News, Fred Freed, “The Energy Crisis”
NBC News, Series of Reports on Feeding the Poor
National Public Affairs Center for Television, “Washington Week in Review”
National Public Affairs Center for Television, Watergate coverage
WNET-TV, New York and Frederick Wiseman, “Juvenile Court”
TVTV and WNET, New York and David Loxton, “The Lord of the Universe”
WKY-TV, Oklahoma City and Bob Dotson, “Through the Looking Glass Darkly”
WPVI-TV, Philadelphia, “Public Bridges and Private Riches”
ABC News and Arthur Holch, “Inquiry: Chile: Experiment in Red"
CBS News, Irv Drasnin, “CBS News Reports: You and the Commercial"
Group W, Dick Hubert and Rod MacLeish “And the Rich Shall Inherit the Earth"
KGW-TV, Portland, Oregon, Pete Maroney, "Death of a Slideshow"
KNX Radio, Los Angeles, California, for editorials on important community issues
NBC News and Robert Northshield, “The Sins of the Fathers”
National Public Affairs Center for Television and Elizabeth Drew, "Thirty Minutes With..."
WBBM-TV, Chicago, Illinois, Judy Muntz, Jim Hatfield, and Lee Phillip, "The Rape of Paulette"
WTIC-TV, Hartford, Connecticut, Jean Sablon and Bard Davis "The Nine-Year-Old in Norfolk Prison"
Mike Wallace for outstanding reporting on CBS News "60 Minutes"
CBS News, Perry Wolff, Robert Markowitz, and Charles Kuralt, "CBS Reports: ...But What If the Dream Comes True?”
Group W, Dick Hubert and Paul Altmeyer, “The Search for Quality Education”
KERA-TV, Dallas, for outstanding coverage of the 1972 political campaigns
National Public Affairs Center for Television, for coverage of the 1972 political campaigns
NBC News and Fred Freed, “White Paper: The Blue Collar Trap”
WABC-TV, Richard Thruston Watkins, "Like It Is: Attica -- the Unanswered Questions"
WNET-TV, New York, and Tony Batten, “The 51st State: Youth Gangs in the South Bronx”
WNJT-TV, Trenton, New Jersey, Ken Stein and John Dimmer, “Towers of Frustration: Assignment: New Jersey”
WTVJ-TV, Miami, “The Swift Justice of Europe” and “A Seed of Hope”
CBS News, John Sharnik and Eric Sevareid, "Justice in America"
Group W, George Moynihan and Susan Garfield, “All The Kids Like That: Tommy’s Story”
KUTV, Salt Lake City, Richard Spratling, Diane Orr and Fred Edwards, "Warriors Without A Weapon"
NBC News, William B. Hill and Tom Pettit, “First Tuesday: The Man from Uncle (Sam)" and "The FBI”
NBC News, Martin Carr, “White Paper: This Child is Rated X”
WABC-TV, Geraldo Rivera, “Drug Crisis in East Harlem”
Kenneth A. Cox
CBS News, Ernest Leiser; Russ Bensley; John Laurence, “Charlie Company”
National Educational Television and Frederick Wiseman, “Hospital”
NBC News and Fred Freed, “White Paper: Pollution is a Matter of Choice”
WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, “Grunt's Little War”
WOOD-TV, Grand Rapids, Dick Cheverton and Herb Thurman, “Our Poisoned World”
Dr. Everett C. Parker
KNBC-TV, Los Angeles, California, “The Slow Guillotine”
KQED, San Francisco, for local coverage of the 1968 political campaigns
National Educational Television and Public Broadcast Laboratory, “Defense and Domestic Needs: The Contest for Tomorrow”
NBC News, “First Tuesday: CBW (Chemical-Biological Warfare): The Secrets of Secrecy”
WRKL Radio, Mount Ivy-New City, NY for outstanding coverage of the 1968 political campaigns
WSB-TV, Atlanta, Georgia “Investigation of Organized Crime”
The duPont Awards arrived at Columbia University.
WCCO Radio, Minneapolis
WRVR Radio, New York
Louis M. Lyons
WFBM Radio, Indianapolis
SILVER BATON WJZ-TV, Baltimore
Howard K. Smith
WFMT Radio, Chicago
KPFK Radio, Los Angeles
Edward P. Morgan
WAVZ Radio, New Haven
WSNY Radio, Schenectady
KRON-TV, San Francisco
KNXT-TV, Los Angeles
WFMT Radio, Chicago
Howard K. Smith
WICC Radio, Bridgeport
WTIC Radio, Hartford
KGAK Radio, Gallup
WHAS Radio, Louisville
WBZ Radio and WBZ-TV, Boston
WOI-TV, Ames, Iowa
Gerald W. Johnson
WMT Radio, Cedar Rapids
Joseph C. Harsch
WCAU Radio and WCAU-TV, Philadelphia
WEEI Radio, Boston
John Cameron Swayze
AVZ Radio, Hartford
WNOX Radio, Knoxville
WPIX-TV, New York
WWJ Radio, Detroit
Special Program Award: American Broadcasting Company and Association
Henry J. Taylor
KLZ Radio, Denver
WLS Radio, Chicago
Edward R. Murrow
WBBM Radio, Chicago
WFIL Radio, Philadelphia
WHO Radio, Des Moines
WFIL Radio, Philadelphia
KDKA Radio, Pittsburgh
WNAX Radio, Yankton
WJR Radio, Detroit
WTAG Radio, Worcester
Raymond Gram Swing
WLW Radio, Cincinnati
WMAZ Radio, Macon
Fulton Lewis Jr.
KGEI Radio, San Francisco
Staff and Jury
Rose Gilbert, CJS '21
Arcelia Martin, CJS '21
Cheryl Gould, Jury Chair, former VP, NBC News
Lynne Adrine, Director, D.C. Graduate Program, Newhouse School, Syracuse University
Andy Bowers, Former Correspondent NPR; Executive, Slate; Co-Founder Panoply Media
David Bauder, TV Writer, Associated Press
Kate O'Brian, Former President, Al Jazeera America, former Executive VP, ABC News
David Rummel, Former Executive, New York Times, Frontline PBS, NBC News
Madhulika Sikka, Executive Producer, The Washington Post "Post Reports"
Betsy West, Professor, Columbia Journalism School (Emeritus); Documentary Filmmaker
Mark Whitaker, Author, Former Executive, CNN Worldwide; NBC News; Newsweek
Call 212-854-5047 or email email@example.com
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