Women win big in journalism awards
The winners of the 2019 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards honoring outstanding video, audio, film and digital journalism were recently announced.
Fourteen of the 16 duPont awards honor work by women — a record. Many of the winning projects are about women.
I am reminded of the CBS sit-com in which Mary Tyler Moore played a spunky news producer at the fictional WJM-TV in Minneapolis.
The theme song contained this line: “You’re gonna make it after all.”
“In a year of big news and upheaval for women, it is fitting that there has also been an extraordinary number of journalistic achievements by women,” said duPont jury chair and former NBC News executive Cheryl Gould.
Here are five examples of the journalism by women that earned duPont Silver Batons:
CNN’s “RBG,” a profile of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, shown in theaters and on television. It was made by a largely female team led by directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen.
CNN International’s coverage of human-rights abuses. Correspondent Nima Elbagir traveled across Africa, reporting on a slave market, child labor and human smugglers.
HBO’s “I Am Evidence,” a documentary about the nationwide failure to process rape kits containing evidence and a procedure to follow in sexual-assault cases. It was produced by TV actress Mariska Hargitay and Trish Adlesic and directed by Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir.
NBC Bay Area KNTV’s “Drivers under Siege,” an investigative series that shows a rise in violent attacks on bus drivers in the San Francisco Bay area. It was reported by Vicky Nguyen.
RYOT-Red Reel’s “On Her Shoulders,” a theatrical documentary that follows Nadia Murad, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient who survived captivity by the Islamic State in Iraq, as she travels from country to country to speak out against wartime sexual violence. It was directed by Alexandra Bombach.
Frontline PBS will receive a Gold Baton, the highest duPont honor and the first awarded in a decade.
The jury commended Frontline for a longstanding commitment to original documentary programming and its innovative, cutting-edge content.
Frontline PBS is headed by a woman, executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath.
For the non-print news media, the duPont batons are the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes, which mostly recognize superior newspaper journalism.
The Columbia Journalism School (my alma mater) administers both the duPonts and the Pulitzers. The duPont awards are named for the late Alfred I. duPont, of the chemical duPonts, who owned small newspapers in Delaware.
The winners will receive their batons on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the 77th annual awards ceremony on the Columbia campus in Manhattan.
Appropriately, the event will be hosted, by two women — Lesley Stahl, a correspondent with CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” and Ailsa Chang, a host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
Paul Janensch, of Bridgeport, was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.