December 15, 2015

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

“Serial,” the breakout hit podcast from the producers of “This American Life,” is among the winners of broadcast journalism’s highest honor, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

The show, which tracked the legal travails of convicted murder Adnan Syed, became the first podcast to be awarded a duPont in the award’s 70-plus year history. The judges called the 12-part show a “groundbreaking” effort that laid bare “inadequacies of the criminal justice system.”

“Serial,” which is now on its second season, received critical praise in April when it earned a Peabody award from the University of Georgia. It was the first podcast to earn that honor.

This year’s duPont winners also included VICE News and Al Jazeera America, a first for both news outlets. Public broadcasters took home six awards, which Columbia tags as a “robust year” for the networks and stations.

Here are the winners:

  • ABC News – “Bruce Jenner: The Interview”
    “A substantive, sensitive interview highlighted one of this year’s most talked about social issues — transgenderism.”

  • Al Jazeera America & Kartemquin Films — “Hard Earned”
    “Immersive verité filmmaking invested viewers in the lives of the struggling working class through compelling human portraits.”

  • “60 Minutes” — “A Crime Against Humanity”
    “Previously unheard testimony and unseen images bore shocking witness to the 2013 Syrian sarin gas attacks.”

  • Arizona PBS — “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona”
    “A local student-professional partnership spotlighted a flourishing but hidden heroin epidemic in Arizona.”

  • “FRONTLINE” — Ebola Outbreak & Outbreak
    “Two separate comprehensive Ebola documentaries combined to dominate coverage of this tragic international story.”

  • “FRONTLINE” — “Growing Up Trans”
    “An artful feature length documentary presented a poignant, clear-eyed examination of the complex world of transgender children.”

  • HBO Documentary Films in association with Sky Atlantic and Jigsaw Productions — “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”
    “A blockbuster feature length documentary exposé of Scientology challenged powerful interests head on.”

  • “HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” — “The Price of Glory”
    “An exceptional magazine investigation exposed the dark side of Qatar’s plan to host the 2022 World Cup, from buying athletes to exploiting workers.”

  • KMOV-TV & Craig Cheatham — “The Injustice System: Cops, Courts and Greedy Politicians”
    “A rare commercial-free hour gave important context to the news in Ferguson by exposing corruption in the St. Louis area’s criminal justice system.”

  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — “A Watershed Moment: Great Lakes at a Crossroads”
    “An informative multimedia project clearly illustrated the damage caused to the Great Lakes by invasive species.”

  • WETA, Ark Media, Florentine Films & Laura Ziskin Pictures — “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies”
    “An ambitious documentary series tackled a challenging topic with depth, context and humanity.”

  • VICE News — “Selfie Soldiers: Russia’s Army Checks in to Ukraine”
    “Innovative reporting tracked Russian soldiers to Ukraine through their social media accounts.”

  • WBAL-TV & Jayne Miller — Freddie Gray Investigation
    “Outstanding local breaking news coverage gave up-to-the-minute reports on the death of Freddie Gray.”

  • WBEZ & “This American Life” — “Serial,” Season One
    “A groundbreaking podcast series revealed the inadequacies of the criminal justice system.”

  • WNYC — “NYPD Bruised”
    “Hard-hitting investigative radio reports used data analysis to show questionable NYPD practices.”

  • WRAL-TV — Journey Alone
    “An enlightening short documentary examined the surge in illegal immigration of unaccompanied minors and its impact on North Carolina.”
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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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