Columbia Journalism School

2014 Winners





See the FULL ceremony here                    Read the full press release here

See clips from the winners here              See clips from the panels here


American Documentary – POV
Gail Dolgin & Robin Fryday
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement”, on PBS

An intimate short documentary profile of an 85-year-old barber and civil rights veteran

In this short film, Alabama barber and civil rights veteran James Armstrong experienced the fulfillment of an unimaginable dream: the election of the first African American president. Armstrong, who went to jail and risked his life to fight for civil rights in the 1960’s, was one of many average citizens who became “foot soldiers” for the cause in the South. The directors wove historical events through Armstrong’s journey with humor and poignancy, telling the larger narrative of the civil rights movement through his life.



The film’s visuals are beautifully composed. Audiences get a fresh perspective on the fight for civil rights through this intimate and genuine story. 


Gail Dolgin and Robin Fryday, directors; Gail Dolgin, Robin Fryday and Judith Helfand, producers; Chicken and Egg Pictures, executive producer; Jacob Steingroot and Kim Roberts, editors; POV: Simon Kilmurry, executive producer; Cynthia López, co-executive producer; Chris White, vice president of programming and production; Yance Ford, series producer; Andrew Catauro, coordinating producer

Watch an interview with director Robin Fryday.


CBS News
Newtown Tragedy Coverage

Sober and professional breaking news coverage of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School

From the morning of the shootings and in the painful days that followed, CBS News covered the mass shooting in Newtown with professionalism and integrity. Reporting across the network’s programs consistently gave viewers context, and explored many dimensions of the tragedy including the popularity of the AR 15 rifle used in the shootings and its place in America’s gun culture, and the inner most thoughts of the grieving families. The political battle over gun control in Washington and an exclusive interview with Mayor Mike Bloomberg were also featured in their coverage. CBS News was unflinching in showing the "fog of war" reporting in the first confusing hours, and Scott Pelley’s conversation on “60 Minutes” with seven of the families that lost children was remarkable for its courage and candor. 


Scott Pelley, Bob Schieffer, Charles Osgood, Charlie Rose,

Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell, John Miller, Bob Orr, Wyatt Andrews, Jim Axelrod, Margaret Brennan, Nancy Cordes, Lee Cohan, Seth Doane, Major Garrett, Jeff Glor, Steve Hartman, Rebecca Jarvis, Maureen Maher, Anthony Mason, Michelle Miller, Erin Moriarty, Bill Plante, Elaine Quijano, Chip Reid, Troy Roberts, Richard Schlesinger, Martha Teichner, Ben Tracy, Peter Van Sant, Lou Young, anchors and correspondents; Al Briganti, Bill Owens, executive editors; Mary Hager, Chris Licht, Rand Morrison, Al Ortiz, Michael Rosen, Jennifer Siebens, Patricia Shevlin, Susan Zirinsky, executive producers; Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, vice president of news, David Rhodes, president of CBS News; Jeff Fager, chairman, CBS News and executive producer, 60 Minutes - In addition to the senior producers, producers, associate producers, directors, writers, editors, and production staff at CBS News who contributed to the coverage.

Center for Investigative Reporting 
“Broken Shield”

An innovative multimedia investigation that exposed a special police force’s failure to defend those most vulnerable

In this dynamic multimedia project from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit journalism organization, investigative reporter Ryan Gabrielson spent 18 months investigating the failures of a special California state police force assigned to protect residents of state facilities with severe mental and emotional disabilities. Gabrielson exposed how sworn officers and detectives waited too long to start investigations, failed to collect evidence and ignored key witnesses leading to an alarming inability to solve crimes. Dozens of women were sexually assaulted inside state centers. To tell some of their stories, CIR produced multimedia videos illustrating specific cases that appeared online, on air on major market television stations and on public radio. As a result of the project, a criminal investigation was launched and new laws were passed in California. 


In Jennifer’s Room: Ryan Gabrielson, reporter and


narrator; Carrie Ching, directer, producer, editor; Marina Luz, illustrator; Evelyn Kelsey, narrator mother's interview, Sharon Tiller, executive producer Manner of Death Undetermined: Ryan Gabrielson, reporter and narrator; Carrie Ching, producer and editor; Monica Lam, videographer, Sharon Tiller, executive producer. Unexplained Deaths Behind Closed Doors: Ryan Gabrielson, reporter; Monica Lam, producer, Sharon Tiller, executive producer. Additional reporting: Agustin Armendariz; project editing and direction Robert Salladay and Mark Katches; web production, Mia Zuckerkandel

Visit the website

Outside the Lines: Youth Football Concerns

An important investigative series that uncovered alarming problems with youth football leagues

With solid writing, reporting and research, this series of three reports uncovered serious problems with youth football in America, where three million children play annually, including a player paralyzed after being coached to use a dangerous tackling technique, coaches offering cash prizes for big hits and rampant gambling.

This important investigation added to the growing body of coverage about concussions and football with stories that graphically illustrated the problems and featured exclusive interviews with those involved in the controversies. ESPN’s reporting had an impact by identifying abuses and policy gaps as well as prompting an 18-month police investigation into corruption and gambling. 

Tom Farrey, Paula Lavigne, reporters; Greg Amante, Simon Baumgart, producers; Michael Sciallo, associate producer; Nathan Hogan, Steve McCarthy, Erik Swanson, editors; Chris Buckle, senior editor; Dan Hardy, Trent Kamerman, Marc Lustig, Bill Roach, photographers; Nick Waligorski, animator; Dwayne Bray, senior coordinating producer; Tim Hays, Carolyn Hong, coordinating producers; VInce Doria, director of news

Behind the Story: Outside the Lines: Youth Football Concerns

KMGH-TV, Denver & Keli Rabon
Colorado Rape Victims: Evidence Ignored, Justice Denied

A yearlong investigation that exposed systemic failures in the handling of rape cases in Colorado

In this tenacious series of reports, KMGH-TV and reporter Keli Rabon held Colorado police officials accountable for their refusal to test all rape kits, leaving thousands of victims without their day in court and potentially hundreds of rapists free to re-offend. Rabon and her team found cursory police investigations, Denver prosecutors accepting only the most clear-cut cases and elected officials refusing to answer questions. Using open records requests, they found many police departments throughout the state had no idea how many rape kits they had in evidence, or how many had been tested.


The stories had high production values; excellent

photography, editing, and clear writing. After the reports aired, legislation passed requiring authorities to test all rape kits, and Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law in June. 


Keli Rabon, investigative reporter and producer; Jason Foster, investigative photographer and editor; Art Kane, executive producer; Jeff Harris, news director; Byron Grandy, vice president and general manager

Behind the Story: Colorado Rape Victims: Evidence Ignored, Justice Denied

KSHB 41 Action News, Kansas City
“Tragedy on the Plaza”

Outstanding ongoing breaking news coverage of a preventable tragedy

After a landmark Kansas City restaurant exploded into flames, 41 Action News reporters were on the scene in the moments and weeks that followed asking tough questions about the events leading up to the deadly blast.


The team broke major developments of the ongoing story:

the lack of an approved city permit for the contractor, the official cause of the explosion, changes to the fire department's natural gas policy, and the first lawsuits filed by restaurant employees and by the family of the woman killed in the explosion. The aggressive, thorough coverage included exclusive coverage and culminated with a sophisticated in depth hour-long primetime special.


Melissa Greenstein, executive producer, special projects; Keith King, consumer reporter; Ryan Kath, Melissa Yeager, investigative reporters; Michael Butler, Andy Pollard, special projects photographers

Behind the Story: "Tragedy on the Plaza"

Watch the piece online

NBC News
“Devastation in Oklahoma”

Impressive breaking news coverage that aired the day after a tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma

Even by the standards of a large network team covering a breaking disaster story, NBC News produced remarkable high quality reporting the day after a tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma in May 2013. Powerful stories featured on Nightly News and a Dateline special report included home video of the funnel sucking up debris, scenes of a mother discovering her missing son, significant early coverage of calls for better underground shelters at schools and the political obstacles to building them, plus a look at the trauma center in Oklahoma City, which learned how to treat trauma after the 1995 federal courthouse bombing. The network committed significant resources to an impressive newsgathering effort that produced fresh and vivid reporting. 



Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor; Jim Cantore,


Tom Costello, Ann Curry, Dr. Greg Forbes, Lester Holt, Gabe Gutierrez, Matt Lauer, Janet Shamlian, Harry Smith, Kate Snow, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Anne Thompson, correspondents; Aretha Marshall, managing editor; Justin Balding, Katie Boyle, Joe Delmonico, Madeleine Haeringer, Jim Gerety, Charmian Ling, Tracey Lyons, Ellen Mason, Allan Maraynes, Paul Ryan, senior producers; John Libretto, Brett Holey, directors; Susan Nalle, senior associate director and coordinating producer; Frank Shanbacker, senior operations producer; Rich Latour, senior line producer; Jack Chesnutt, Al Henkel, coordinating producers; Nilam Agrawal, Laura Allenbaugh, Erika Angulo, Justin Balding, Tim Beacham, Anne Binford, Tom Bettag, Rob Buchanan, John Cheang, Kim Cornett, Glen Dacy, Sossy Dombourian, Brad Davis, Jane Derenowski, Samina Engel, Lauren Fairbanks, Ron Farmer, Mario Garcia, Bob Gilmartin, Andy Gross, Charles Hadlock, Aarne Heikkila, Mark Hudspeth, 

Marianne Haggerty, Leo Juarez, Lai Ling Jew, Meade Jorgensen, Katherin Kim, Tom Keenan, Jay Kernis, Vivian Kim, Liz Brown Kuriloff, Victor Limjoco, Joo Lee, Steven Louie, Sarah Longden, Megan Marcus, Carroll Ann Mears, Michelle Melnick,  Todd Miyazawa, Mike Nardi, Dorothy Newell, Jamie Novogrod, Marianne O'Donnell, Amy Perrette, Polly Powell, Ann Preisman, Samira Puskar, Graham Robertson, Tim Sandler, Olivia Santini, Ami Schmitz, Anna Schecter, Dan Shepherd, Jennifer Sherwood, Sue Simpson, Cathy Singer, Robin Skolnick, Doug Stoddart, Vince Sturla, Linda Takahashi, Zoya Taylor, Tim Uehlinger, Christina Vallice, Kelly Venardos, Adriennee Wheeler, Wonbo Woo, Katie Yu, Esther Zucker, producers; Stefani Barber, Cristina Boado De Sanchez, Loren Burlando, Neal Cartereng, Toni Deaztlan, Sopan Deb, Adam Desiderio, Sabrina Esposito, Jamie Farnsworth, Alissa Figuera, Christine Fillmore, Donna Griffo-Johnson, Jessica Hopper, Sergei Ivonin, Nick Johnson, Michelle Kessel, Brian Lavietes, Sharaf Mowjood, Aliza Nadi, Stacey Naggiar, Ronnie Polidoro, Kristin Powers, Janelle Richards, Adam Rivera, Katie Reimchen, Carly Segal, Melissa Smith, Lauren Specter, Shannon Urtnowski, Rasheeda Winfield, Cyndey Weiner, Ben Weltman, Rocio Zamora, associate producers; Rima Abdelkader, Katie Blum, Ranjani Chakraborty, Kallie Ejigu, Jessica Kerry, Deborah Kim, Lauren Moore, Divya Nair Adrian Taylor, Brittany Tom, Kaila Ward, Megan Wheeler, assistant producers; Tim Al-Harby, Rob Allen, Chad Bergacs, Bob Brandel, Bruce Burger, Justin Cece, Beverly Chase, Bob Croce, Colin Dow, Ed Eaves, Scott Feinstein, Rob Kaplan, Kristi Kilkenny, Meredith Kramer, Maggie Kassner, Jody Henenfeld, Judy Lieber, Stephanie Longmire, Christopher Pendy, Sharon Pearson, Rich Platt, Billy Ray, Bob Spencer, Jaclyn Spirer, Alvaro Trenchi, Irene Trullinger, editors; Aurelia Grayson, Adam Gorfain, Sam Singal, Jennifer Suozzo, senior broadcast producers; Pat Burkey, Elizabeth Cole, Alexandra Wallace, executive producers; David Corvo, senior executive producer

Behing the Story: "Devastation in Oklahoma"

Watch the piece online

Scott Thurman & Silver Lining Film Group, Magic Hour Entertainment, Naked Edge Films
“The Revisionaries” on Independent Lens

An original documentary about the culture wars in America today told through the inner workings of the Texas Board of Education

Shot over the course of three years, director Scott Thurman gained unique access to the Texas Board of Education, America’s most influential, where a few citizens are fighting a battle to shape the course of American education through the revision of public school textbooks. Viewers see both sides of the debate, meeting key players and witnessing them tangle over critical issues like evolution.


This effective documentary presents a powerful civics

lesson in the culture wars between conservatives and liberals. The writing is spare and effective, and notable for its evenhanded tone. Thurman successfully captured intense debates, soul searching and back room compromises at the Texas Board of Education that affect us all.

Scott Thurman, director, producer, writer, director of photography; Pierson Silver, Orlando Wood, Producer; Jim Butterworth, Vijay Dewan, executive producers; Daniel J. Chalfen, Chandra C. Silver, co-producers; Jawad Metni, editor and writer; Mark Orton, score; Zac Sprague, camera operator; Lois Vossen, Independent Lens senior series producer

Watch the trailer

Visit the website

“Rape in the Fields/Violación de un Sueño”

A deeply reported collaboration spanning multiple platforms that spotlighted the sexual assault of female farm workers

This unique collaboration, led by reporting from the Investigative Reporting Program at U.C. Berkeley Journalism School, with the Center for Investigative Reporting, FRONTLINE and UNIVISION produced a dynamic cross platform documentary that focused on an overlooked subject; the sexual abuse, with impunity, of female migrant farm workers. Led by producer and correspondent Lowell Bergman, the team documented the stories of farm workers who were preyed upon by their field bosses and co-workers telling the story through a series of unforgettable interviews with the victims, some all the more vulnerable because they are undocumented. The reporters tracked down some of the men accused of these crimes, often years after they occurred. The pacing of the online and broadcast video, the dynamic online resources, and the overall presentation were sharp and consistent. The unique collaboration, including the first ever between FRONTLINE and UNIVISION, enabled this multi-lingual effort to reach across the country and into the fields themselves, demanding action by those in authority.


The Investigative Reporting Program: Lowell Bergman,

senior producer and correspondent; Andrés Cediel, producer; Bill Cran, senior producer; Stephanie Mechura, editor; Lauren Rosenfeld, associate producer; Zachary Stauffer, director of photography; Hannah Mintz, reporter; Gary Bostwick, legal CIR: Bernice Yeung, Grace Rubenstein, reporters; Susanne Reber, director of digital media; Robert Salladay, managing editor; Richard C. Paddock, editor; Ariane Wu, multimedia producer; Marina Luz, illustrator; Daffodil Altan, spanish language producer; Mia Zuckerkandel, senior online editor; Suzanne Yada, senior web producer; Jaena Rae Cabrera, web producer; Judy Alexander, legal Meghann Farnsworth, social media and promotion; Mark Katches, editorial director; Robert Rosenthal, executive director FRONTLINE: David Fanning, executive producer; Raney Aronson-Rath, deputy executive producer; Sarah Moughty, assistant managing editor for digital media; Sarah Childress, digital reporter; Jason Breslow, digital research assistant; Carla Borras, deputy story editor; Eric Brass, legal UNIVISION: Isaac Lee, Daniel Coronell, Juan Rendon, executive producers; Marlon Venerio, post-production director; Natalie Osma, Eric Douat, producers; Alicia Avila, production assistant; Israel Ruiz, editor; Sandee Kynerd, Paula Molina, graphics; Daniel Morcate, script supervision; Jesús Casales, Manuel Ramos, Alfredo Manzur, audio post production; Roberto Pons, Wysmar Clealand, Aldredo Bustillo, Rafael Tejero, Jorge Soliño, Jairo Marin, Israel Ruiz, Daily Camacaro, voices for Spanish dub; Rick Altebef, legal; Selymar Colón, director digital integration; Alan Landa, Mulitimedia producer; Leonor Suarez, multimedia producer; Pablo Gutiérrez, resources infographic; Jorge Cancino, senior publisher

Visit the website

Behind the Story: "Rape in the Fields"

WBEZ Chicago
This American Life: “Harper High School Parts 1 and 2”

A stark two-part radio series that captured the impact of gun violence on the students and staff of one Chicago high school

In almost cinematic fashion, these two consecutive radio stories from This American Life brought audiences inside a school on Chicago’s south side that lost eight students to gun violence in the previous academic year. Three reporters spent five months following students, staff and families with remarkable access as they struggled to cope with the trauma and the aftermath of the loss.


Located in one of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods,

the reporters’ ground-level observations of Harper High were truly immersive, and intercut with lively use of sound. These elements offered valuable insights into gang geography, high school culture, public health, and resilience. The extreme efforts and painful limitations of adult leadership came through, as did the violence that, as one participant said, is like the water the students swim in at Harper High.

Julie Snyder, producer and editor; Ira Glass, executive Producer and editor; Ben Calhoun, Alex Kotlowitz, Linda Lutton, reporters, Robyn Semien, co-producer

Listen to the winning story: Part 1 & Part 2

WBZ-TV, Boston

Boston Marathon Bombings Coverage

Exceptional live coverage of a major breaking news story over the course of five days

WBZ-TV’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings was television journalism at its very best – informative, level headed in a time of crisis, and visually arresting. The station was broadcasting live coverage of the Boston Marathon when the two bombs went off, just seconds apart on April 15, 2013. From its very first report of the explosions, this coverage was fact-filled and measured. WBZ-TV dedicated considerable resources to the reporting. After the bombings, the killers were at large and people were afraid. In the face of that concern, the anchors and reporters stayed calm. They kept their viewers up-to-date on fast-moving events. Through all the dramatic events, reporters dug deep to find sources and information not being released by government officials.


Barry Burbank, Steve Burton, Kerry Connolly, Paula Ebben,

Jonathan Elias, Todd Gutner, Lisa Hughes, Kate Merrill, Dan Roche, Bobby Sisk, David Wade, Jack Williams, anchors; Karen Anderson, Jim Armstrong, Paul Burton, Sera Congi, Beth Germano, Christina Hager, Jon Keller, Lauren Leamanczyk, Ken Macleod, Michelle Roberts, David Robichaud, Michael Rosenfield, Didi Salcedo, Bill Shields, Joe Shortsleeve, Bree Sison, Jim Smith, reporters; Jackie Connally, Rob Gati, Joe Giza, Jim Harrington, Kelly Isenor, Debbie Kim, Debbi Klein, Jessi Miller, Elsie Nolan, Kevin Osgood, Scott Sullivan, Seth Szilagyi, Ken Tucci, Jonathan Wells, producers; Dominick Aielli, Natalie Bentley, Paul Buscemi, Russ Chasse, Matt Colson, Bryan Foley, Ken Stiles, Pat Geiler, Chris Gobielle, Al Goebel, Ralph Griswold, Rick Hertzler, Nate Isenor, Rick Macomber, Chuck Manning, Tom Matteo, Terry McNamara, Tom McNamee, William Meservey, Ron Mitchell, Chris Remavich, Aaron Strader, Mo Tate, videographers; Stephanie Innis, Kristin Keefe, James Murphy, James O'Donnell, Jim O'Halloran, Evan Scruggs, Therese Signaigo, editors; Julie Eich, Matt Geagan, Seth Graham, Michael Hurley, Katie Katzman-Curley, Dean Reddington, Steve Saleeba, Mike Toole, web team; Arne Jensen, Gary Stout, Lindsey Devine, Ron Wilhelmsen, Bill Ritchotte, design; Candace Almeida, Ronald Anderson, Warren Aulenback, Phillip Billings, Ronald Bogatowski, Peter Brennan, Lisa Bumbaca, Marc Carbone, Michael Cusack, William Daley, James DeWitt, Alex Dina, John Downey, Robert Florio, Brian Gallagher, Brian Gentry, Bill Gibbs, Brooks Habersham, Joseph Hughes, Dalinda Ifill, Mary Beth Lambert, Ethan Lawless, Simon Lockwood, Charles Lucci, Marc Maynard, John Montgomery, John Nemec, Steven Obreza, Alison Parnes, David Peabody, Eric Pearson, Theodore Pollack, Greg Raso, Joe Rogers, Ann Scalcione, Harold Sealls, Daniel Shapira, Kari Solomon, Nicole St. Germain, Matt Stead, Kenneth Vedder, Tisha Wilson, Robert Yankowitz, engineering; Andrea Courtois, Joe Couture, Amanda Howes, David Rothstein, assignment editors; Elisabeth Bagemihl, Joanne Bemis, Steve Bognar, Sarah Burke, Bob Dumas, Terry Eliasen, Greg Nickerson, Paul Pabis, Theresa Rooney, Peter Wilson, managers; Mark Lund, general manager; John Verrilli, news director

Behind the Story: WBZ

WFAA-TV, Dallas & Byron Harris
“Denticaid: Medicaid Dental Abuse in Texas”

A relentless two-year long investigative series that brought to light rampant pediatric dental Medicaid fraud

In this series of dogged reports, WFAA-TV and reporter Byron Harris uncovered a corrupt system in which hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars went to dentists who billed the government for questionable orthodontics and other procedures that, in some instances, harmed children.


One Dallas-area dental clinic cruised poor neighborhoods,

luring kids with food and cash before performing extensive, unnecessary and often harmful dental work all without parental consent. WFAA’s detailed reporting featured whistleblowers, hidden camera video and the tireless pursuit of one dentist living in a mansion the size of Versailles. Because of this reporting, the Texas Medicaid commissioner and the state’s dental director resigned, and congressional hearings were held.

Byron Harris, reporter; Jason Trahan, producer; Billy Bryant, photographer and video editor; Carolyn Mungo, executive news director; Mike Devlin, president and general manager

Behind the Story: "Denticaid: Medicaid Dental Abuse in Texas"

WVUE-TV, New Orleans & Lee Zurik
“Body of Evidence”

An original investigative series that revealed misuse of public funds, corruption and fraud

This series of stories started on a simple tip – a coroner charged a number of meals on a public credit card. That led Lee Zurik and the WVUE-TV team to dig through thousands of pages of public documents, doing a more thorough audit of that office. Zurik discovered that the public official, the coroner, was abusing his constituents’ trust – giving himself unheard of pay raises that eventually rivaled even the Vice President of the United States.


All of this just a few years after he convinced those same

constituents that he needed more money to run his office. The reporting was restrained, extensive and original. Zurik’s straightforward investigative work made a difference in the public interest.

Lee Zurik, chief investigative reporter; Donny Pearce, photographer and editor; Wes Cook, interactive manager; Tom Wright, web editor; Greg Phillips, assistant news director and special projects director; Mikel Schaefer, news director

Website: "Body of Evidence"

Behind the Story: "Body of Evidence"

WYPR, Baltimore
“The Lines Between Us”

An ambitious yearlong broadcast and multimedia series on inequality in Baltimore

This ambitious interactive project from Baltimore’s public radio station incorporated WYPR's talk programs, social media, extended interviews, personal narratives, produced pieces and digital platforms for "opportunities around town to advance the conversation about race, class and community," along with regular solicitations on air and online for story ideas from audiences.


The series is eager and serious about broadening its reach

to people who don't usually listen to public radio. The station devoted substantial airtime and online resources to this complex project. In its exploration of housing, education, jobs, history and social networks - described not only by the experts but by those who earn their expertise through lived experience - this series performed a real service to the people of Baltimore.

Sheilah Kast, host; Tom Hall, co-host; Lawrence Lanahan, senior producer; Stephanie Hughes, Matt Purdy, producers; Jamyla Kay, assistant producer

Website: "The Lines Between Us"

Behind the Story: "The Lines Between Us"

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