Columbia Journalism School

duPont-Columbia Awards: About





The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards Center is dedicated to upholding the highest standards in journalism by:

  • Honoring the best in broadcast, documentary, and digital reporting

  • Informing the public about the contributions news organizations and journalists make to their communities and to the world

  • Supporting journalism education and innovation

  • Cultivating a collective spirit for the profession

These are achieved through the following programs:



Every year about a dozen news stories 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.

Winners receive a silver baton, or a gold baton for truly outstanding reporting, which is inscribed with the famous observation about the power of television by the late Edward R. Murrow:

"This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends.  Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box." Address to the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Chicago, October 15, 1958.


For a record of award recipients from each year, as well as links to video excerpts of the winning media and other behind the story features, go to THE WINNERS


The Winners’ Circle began as a post-award ceremony panel for broadcast students of the Columbia School of Journalism featuring recent duPont-Columbia Award winning reporters. The event has grown into an interdisciplinary forum featuring teams of correspondents, multimedia producers and editors behind some of the most innovative and exciting news reporting today. They are invited to the Columbia School of Journalism to discuss their work. Students receive valuable insights about covering beats from international news to local investigative stories. The range of discussions include the challenges and opportunities of the medium, ethics and standards, utilizing new technologies, and industry developments.

For photos, event updates and to interact with our journalists, go to the duPONT-COLUMBIA AWARDS FACEBOOK PAGE.



Year-round programming including panels, broadcast interviews, film and video screenings, and more are produced in partnership with the University and other media and journalism institutions. These events highlight established and emerging news leaders and trends across diverse disciplines. In September 2011, the inaugural "Innovators in Storytelling" panel was held in partnership with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

For a schedule of past and upcoming events, go to the NEWS AND EVENTS.


Since 1969, graduate students have worked at the duPont-Columbia Awards, assisting the program as well as learning about journalism in the public service by helping to facilitate the awards process. Today, the duPont-Columbia Graduate Research Fellowship provides competitive scholarships towards tuition for two Columbia Journalism School graduate students. Help ing to foster the next generation of duPont winners is an integral part of the program's mission.

MEET THE FELLOWS, current and past, through their profiles and writings.






Abi Wright, Exec Director,  Prizes

Bill Wheatley, Jury Chair

Lisa R. Cohen, Director

Lynne Adrine

Lauren Meregildo-Santos, Program Coordinator

Andy Bowers


David Bauder


June Cross


Paul Friedman


Cheryl Gould


Duy Linh Tu


Betsy West



The duPont-Columbia Awards Program is grateful to the Jessie Ball duPont Fund for their generous support of outstanding journalism in the public service.



For over 70 years, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards have recognized excellence in broadcast journalism. Regarded today as one of the most prestigious prizes in broadcast and digital news, the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes, the duPont-Columbia Awards bring the best in broadcast and digital journalism to professional and public attention by honoring those who produce it.

Jessie Ball duPont created the awards as a memorial to her husband Alfred I. duPont, who died in 1935. Her goal was to honor his dedication to progressive reform and to freedom of information in the public interest by recognizing the "essential and patriotic service" that radio and its commentators provided during the early years of World War II. The criteria she established then still hold true today:

" honor distinguished and meritorious performance of public service by aggressive, consistently excellent and accurate gathering and reporting of news; the presentation of expert, informed and reliable interpretation of news and opinion; and encouragement of initiative, integrity and public service."


The programs that have won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards document history as it happens. They have captured everything from battlefront reports and commentary to coverage of social issues, from news of the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam and Afghanistan to economics, science, and the environment, and from global events to small-town stories of ordinary people.

As technology evolved, the duPont Awards expanded to include television, and later cable programming. As the forms of television and radio journalism have multiplied, the awards have responded by honoring investigative series, magazine programs, documentaries, independent and digital productions.


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