Christiane Amanpour announces the winners of the 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards.
2013 WINNERS: 14 SILVER BATONS
A film by Alison Klayman, A Never Sorry LLC, United Expression Media, Sundance Selects, MUSE Film and Television
“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”
An intimate and compelling documentary about an extraordinary man on the cusp of history in China
In this compelling portrait of the internationally recognized artist Ai Weiwei, filmmaker Alison Klayman presents an insightful look at China and its transition in a digital age. Klayman followed the outspoken artist over the course of several years, and deftly interweaves the larger themes of art, social justice, free speech and participatory democracy in the film. Small details captured in the film demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the subject. Ai’s creative process, activism, international exhibits and tensions with authorities that result in censorship, attacks and detention are all documented with skill and humanity.
Alison Klayman, director, producer, co-editor and cinematographer; Adam Schlesinger, producer; Jen Fineran, editor; Ilan Isakov, music; Colin Jones, contributing producer; Andrew Cohen, Julie Goldman, Karl Katz, executive producers
CBS News & Clarissa Ward
CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley: Inside Syria
A gripping series of daily news reports from inside the deadly conflict in Syria
Clarissa Ward bravely reported on what was happening inside Syria’s dangerous and largely inaccessible insurgent strongholds despite government efforts to keep foreign journalists away. To report this extraordinary series of nine stories, Ward entered Syria posing as a tourist carrying only a small camera. She gave viewers the rare opportunity to meet the people behind the shaky cell phone videos posted on YouTube. With deliberate and straightforward reporting, Ward provided riveting details about activists and regular citizens as their struggle brought Syria to the brink of civil war. Her discussions with CBS News Anchor Scott Pelley added depth and context to her courageous reporting.
Clarissa Ward, correspondent; Scott Pelley, anchor, managing editor; Patricia Shevlin, executive producer; Heather Abbott, senior producer; Randall Joyce, Ben Plesser, producers; Mark Ludlow, editor
Original story: "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley: Inside Syria"
Behind the Story: Clarissa Ward and Ben Plesser
Current TV, Christof Putzel & The Renaud Brothers
"Vanguard: Arming the Mexican Cartel"
An excellent investigation into the front lines of the Mexican drug war and the flow of guns into Mexico from the United States
In this gritty and wide-ranging hour-long program, correspondent Christof Putzel and his producing partners the Renaud Brothers gained remarkable access to all sides of Mexico’s bloody drug wars capturing their motivations and providing economic and political context for the violence. Embedded with the Mexican army, CSI teams, and the local police night after night, the team documented execution-style killings and gang shootouts as well as conducted candid interviews with young kids in gangs. Policies on both sides of the border that fuel the bloodshed are explored with clear and accessible writing including the vital role of lax gun laws in the U.S. and the resulting gun trafficking into Mexico.
Christof Putzel, correspondent; Brent and Craig Renaud, producers; Adam Yamaguchi, executive producer; Jim Fraenkel, senior executive producer
KCET, Southern California
"SoCal Connected: Courting Disaster"
Important reporting on the consequences of budget cuts to Los Angeles' court system and their devastating impact on families
When KCET’s SoCal Connected was granted unprecedented access to the Los Angeles Dependency Court where the fates of hundreds of children are determined every day, they found an already overburdened court system that was being pushed to a breaking point by $650 million in state budget cuts. It was the first time a camera had been allowed in to film the daily proceedings that showed staggering caseloads. Judges had only minutes to decide issues of custody and foster care. Interviews with those struggling through the system were handled with care and respect. Well-written and edited, this important story clearly illustrated the real impact budget cuts are having on families in California.
Bret Marcus, executive producer; Justine Schmidt, co-executive producer; Jennifer London, correspondent; Karen Foshay, producer; Dan Caston, Kenny Gioseffi, Brett Wood, videographers; Michael Bloecher, editor
KLAS-TV, Las Vegas
An ambitious series of reports that exposed the root causes and repercussions of Nevada's ongoing mortgage crisis
For this exemplary series about the ongoing foreclosure crisis that has hit Nevada harder than any other state in the country, KLAS committed significant time and resources. Starting with a two-week long news series with reports in every newscast, they continued with a comprehensive hour-long special report and a massive online resource base culled from financial reports and government statistics, including practical information to help homeowners navigate the brutal foreclosure process. In clear language, reporters explain the mechanics of foreclosures – practices like “robo signing” – and the lack of government regulation that allowed predatory lenders to profit from the crisis.
George Knapp, Colleen McCarty, Nathan Baca, reporters; Matt Adams, Kyle Zuelke, Alex Brauer, photographers; George Knapp, Colleen McCarty, Ian Russell, producers; Ron Comings, Terri Foley, executive producers; Patrick Stoehr, illustrator; Steve Kanigher, Steven Jackson, Chris Way, web producers
A film by 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
A vivid portrait of what it is like to grow up as an underdog in America today
In this powerful documentary director Lee Hirsch followed five families affected by adolescent bullying, a social problem so prevalent that the school administrators and other officials profiled in the film seem not to notice it. Their access and rapport with the characters deeply engaged viewers with the families’ struggles, and helped start a national dialogue about an issue that is too often cloaked in silence. Each personal story revealed the far-ranging consequences of bullying on families, schools and communities across the country. The film includes an excellent website that makes resources and screenings available to a wider public.
Lee Hirsch, director; Lee Hirsch, Cynthia Lowen, producers, writers; Cindy Waitt, executive producer; Lindsay Utz, Jenny Golden, editors; Ion Furjanic, Bishop Allen, composers
Official trailer: "Bully"
NPR, Deborah Amos & Kelly McEvers
Coverage of Syria
Intelligent and resourceful coverage of the bloody uprising in Syria and its effect on the region
NPR’s series of daily news reports about the conflict in Syria was wide ranging, balanced and in depth. Veteran foreign correspondent Deb Amos provided critical context and explanation in her reporting that helped listeners understand the complex sectarian and regional factors at play. Her reporting from inside Syria at the scene of a massacre and the capitol Damascus documented spikes in violence. Correspondent Kelly McEvers brought a focus on individual stories that made the conflict real in human terms. With mainstream reporters banned from travel to Syria, her extensive reporting on Youtube distributed videos of the fighting filmed by activists shed light on what was happening.
Deb Amos, Kelly McEvers, correspondents; Doug Roberts, senior editor; Edith Chapin, senior international editor; Stu Seidel, deputy managing editor; David Sweeney, managing editor; Margaret Low Smith, senior vice president of news
Original stories: ""NPR: Coverage of Syria"
StoryCorps, NPR & POV
Innovative and authentic remembrances of the human toll of the attacks on September 11, 2001 told through a series of radio stories with animated stories
StoryCorps’ memorable and impactful work recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of those who were affected by the attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred across multiple platforms—radio, television and text. Since 2006, they have worked with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to record over one thousand interviews with people who were affected by the events of that day; those who lost a loved one, those that survived, those who helped with rescue and recovery. An inspired series of animated shorts aired on POV and brought these moving personal stories to life. StoryCorps’ original approach illuminated a broad range of important issues through first person storytelling.
NPR, POV, StoryCorps, National September 11 Memorial & Museum, YouTube, Penguin Press, producing organizations; StoryCorps: Dave Isay, Donna Galeno, executive producers; Michael Garofalo, senior producer; Eve Claxton, Isaac Kestenbaum, Katie Simon, Vanara Taing, producers; Lizzie Jacobs, Mike Rauch, producer/editor/director; Tim Rauch, director; NPR: Ellen McDonnell, Madhulika Sikka, executive producers; Audie Cornish, reporter; Barry Gordemer, Eric Nuzum, Kerry Thompson, Jim Wildman, producers; POV: Simon Kilmurry, executive producer; Cynthia López, co-executive producer; Chris White, vp of programming and production; Yance Ford, series producer; Andrew Catauro, coordinating producer
Original story: "StoryCorps 9/11"
Animated shorts: "John and Joe," "Always A Family," "She Was The One"
Behind the Story: Eve Claxton and Michael Garofalo on the StoryCorps 9/11 Project
An interactive investigative report that uncovered hundreds of forgotten lead factories and the health hazards they left behind
This important interactive report details how federal and state environmental agencies did little to investigate hundreds of sites of closed factories despite the fact that they were warned more that a decade ago about dangerous levels of lead contamination. The extensive multimedia series was reported by a team of USA Today database, design, digital and visual experts and includes an online interactive that gives users detailed findings about more than 230 factory sites, including historical maps documenting the factories in operation and interactive maps allowing users to examine more than 1,000 soil samples performed by the newspaper in 21 neighborhoods across the country.
Alison Young, Peter Eisler, reporters; John Hillkirk, Lee Horwich, Blake Morrison, editors; Denny Gainer, Brad Heath, Stan Wilson Jr., Radhika Kotangoor, map reproduction and interaction; Anthony DeBarros, Barbara Hansen, Brad Heath, Paul Monies, Christopher Schnaars, Alison Young, database development and analysis; Steve Elfers, Denny Gainer, Shannon Rae Green, Garrett Hubbard, Heidi Naguib, Maxine Park, Kaveh Rezai, Cassondra Strande, Alison Young, video; Anita Brikman, narrator; Keith Carter, animation; Eileen Blass, Garrett Hubbard, Kate Patterson, Alison Young, photographers; Jeff Dionise, Corey Greeneltch, Chuck Rose, art direction; Robert Berthold, Courtney Dean, Kristin DeRamus, Amanda Kirby, Stan Wilson, Jr., site architecture, design and development; Frank Pompa, graphics; Terry Byrne, copy editing; Samantha Bush, Nicole Dao, Adam Kerlin, Amanda Muscavage, research; Emily Brown, online production; Melissa Hill, Cristin Duddy, metrics and SEO; Radhika Guntur, testing; Erin Sansone, project management
WGBH, Kartemquin Films, Steve James & Alex Kotlowitz
"FRONTLINE: The Interrupters" on PBS
Remarkable documentary journalism that explained urban violence and its causes, effects and solutions
This moving documentary follows a group of violence Interruptors to the front lines of inner city violence and profiles their efforts to combat it with dignity. Shot over the course of a year, filmmakers Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz captured the streets of Chicago during a period of widespread violence that drew national attention. With extraordinary initiative, enterprise and access, the team opened doors into places most people can’t go, telling complex stories about former gang members working to break the cycle of violence. The documentary provides new understanding of a stubborn societal problem through strong characters and excellent reporting, shooting and editing.
Steve James, director and photography; Steve James, Alex Kotlowitz, producers; Zak Piper, co-producer, sound recordist; Steve James, Aarodn Wickenden, editors; Joshua Abrams, composer; Linda Cohen, music supervisor; Teddy Leifer, Justin Nagan, Gordon Quinn, Paul Taylor, executive producers; Sally Jo Fifer, executive producer for ITVS; Claire Aguilar, vice president of programming for ITVS; Michael Sullivan, executive producer special projects; Andrew Golis, director of digital media, senior editor; Philip Bennett, managing editor; Jim Bracciale, series manager; Raney Aronson-Rath, series senior producer; David Fanning, executive producer
WGBH, Clover Films & Najibullah Quraishi
"FRONTLINE: Opium Brides" on PBS
A fascinating and haunting exploration of the unintended human price of Afghanistan's opium eradication campaign
Reporter Najibullah Quraishi uncovered a terrible consequence of the Afghan government’s war on poppy production; rural families forced to give their daughters to drug traffickers because they were unable to repay borrowed money after crops were destroyed by the government eradication program. Interviews with poppy farmers reveal a commitment to the continued growth of lucrative poppies. This story is well written and edited, and tells a different story about the drug wars and their impact on society. The questions raised by the story linger well after it ends--how many more children will be traded or sold by their families to drug traffickers and what can be done to stop it?
Najibullah Quraishi, reporter, field producer and camera; Jamie Doran, producer; John Moffat, editor; Chad Ervin, additional editor; Will Lyman, narrator; Allya Davidson, assistant producer; Melaney Doran, Ellie Vainker, production assistants; Tom Greenwood, researcher; Javed Rezayee, consultant, translator; Tracey Doran-Carter, executive producer for Clover Films; Michael Sullivan, executive producer special projects; Andrew Golis, director of digital media, senior editor; Philip Bennett, managing editor; Jim Bracciale, series manager; Raney Aronson-Rath, series senior producer; David Fanning, executive producer
witf, WHYY & NPR
An important radio series produced in partnership with five local public radio stations about the impact of natural gas fracking in Pennsylvania
This joint reporting project from witf in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia, and NPR showed the significant impact of natural gas drilling on Pennsylvania residents, and is an important model for reporting on local issues. Reporters Susan Phillips and Scott Detrow covered the public policy, fiscal and environmental impact of the state’s booming energy economy, with a focus on Marcellus Shale drilling. Their broadcast reports were heard on public radio stations across Pennsylvania and on a dedicated web site featuring multimedia, data-driven stories. Their work revealed previously unreported aspects of a new gas drilling law, including a provision that would require health professionals to sign confidentiality agreements in order to get access to chemical exposure information and developments in the state’s efforts to establish a natural gas impact fee.
Susan Phillips (WHYY), Scott Detrow (witf), reporters, producers, photographers; Chris Satullo (WHYY),Vikki Valentine (NPR), Ken Rudin (NPR), editors; Tim Lambert (witf), StateImpact Pennsylvania project manager/editor; Chris Amico, Danny DeBelius, Elise Hu, Matt Stiles, NPR StateImpact data/web team; Lynette Clemetson (NPR), StateImpact Director
WVUE-TV, New Orleans & Lee Zurik
"Dirty Deeds," "Hiding Behind the Badge"
Two outstanding investigative series that spotlighted public corruption in Louisiana
Both of these meticulously reported local investigations from WVUE-TV reporter Lee Zurik exposed government corruption, historic and contemporary, in Louisiana. The tireless reporting also got results; in “Hiding Behind the Badge”, Zurik’s 20-part series about campaign finance fraud and kickbacks resulted in powerful law enforcement officials and a local businessman facing federal jail time. In “Dirty Deeds” Zurik uncovered a 75-year old oil lease deal signed by Huey Long that swindled state tax payers out of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues. Well-written and produced with excellent graphic elements, the stories also included online web videos and extensive historical documentation.
Lee Zurik, chief investigative reporter; Donny Pearce, videographer,editor; Mikel Schaefer, news director; Greg Phillips, assistant news director, executive producer; Marcy Planer, producer; Wes Cook, interactive manager; Tom Wright, web editor
"Wayne County Confidential"
A model series of watchdog investigative reports that exposed local government corruption and resulted in criminal charges and an ongoing FBI probe
It started with one story on WXYZ about a small government contract dispute. By the end, this relentlessly reported series uncovered widespread government corruption, lawlessness and ineptitude inside Michigan’s largest county. This is watchdog reporting at its best that has had a significant impact: five federal criminal charges, two guilty pleas, five firings, four resignations, one recall effort and an ongoing FBI probe. The stories served as a road map for how official corruption starts and spreads through lies and cover-ups. Eventually, a number of elected officials were forced out of office. This series performed an important public service in a county facing bankruptcy.
Ross Jones, reporter, producer; Heather Catallo, reporter; Ann Mullen, executive producer; Ramon Rosario, Johnny Sartin, photographer; Randy Lundquist, editor; Tim Dye, news director