January 6, 2009
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR


   

NPR NEWS WINS THREE DUPONT-COLUMBIA AWARDS
FOR EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM

NPR HONORED FOR COVERAGE OF CHINA EARTHQUAKE;
SERIES ON SEXUAL ABUSE OF NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN;
AND MORTGAGE CRISIS EXPLAINER “THE GIANT POOL OF MONEY”

AWARDS ARE THE MOST EVER “SILVER BATONS” WON BY NPR IN A SINGLE YEAR



Washington, D.C.; January 12, 2009 – NPR News is being honored with three 2008 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for excellence in broadcast journalism, it was announced today by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. The winning entries include the network’s coverage of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China; a series investigating the high instance of rape against Native American women on tribal lands; and “The Giant Pool of Money,” an explainer on the subprime mortgage crisis, jointly produced by NPR and This American Life from Chicago Public Radio and PRI. Three awards stand as the most “Silver Batons” NPR has won in the course of one year.

NPR News and its afternoon newsmagazine All Things Considered are awarded a duPont Award for the show’s memorable coverage of the earthquake that devastated Sichuan Province in May 2008. Hosts Robert Siegel and Melissa Block were in the capitol city of Chengdu with their production team, preparing for a special weeklong broadcast from the country, when the massive earthquake struck. From the moments immediately following the quake, Siegel, Block and the entire team traveled throughout Sichuan; their extensive reporting on the immense devastation and relief efforts aired across all of NPR’s programs. NPR’s coverage of the quake and its aftermath earned instant recognition from other media organizations and listeners around the world.

In explaining its selection of NPR’s coverage of the China Earthquake, the duPont Jury recognized NPR for “outstanding on-the-scene reporting of a major breaking news event done with extraordinary skill, sensitivity and nimbleness.” The Jury continued: “[NPR] gave the world its first impressions of the catastrophe, and their ensuing reports contained vivid stories of grief, hope and survival. The team was nimble and hard working, producing excellent pieces, often live, under difficult conditions.” Sharing the award with Block and Siegel are executive producer Christopher Turpin; producers Brendan Banaszak, Andrea Hsu and Art Silverman; foreign correspondents Louisa Lim and Anthony Kuhn; engineer Stacey Abbott; and Ellen Weiss, NPR’s senior vice president for news.

NPR News correspondent Laura Sullivan is receiving a duPont Award for her two-part report “Sexual Abuse of Native American Women,” which aired on All Things Considered in July 2007. Sullivan traveled to tribal lands in South Dakota and Oklahoma to investigate the factors contributing to the harrowing statistic that one in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime, as well as the jurisdictional limitations of law enforcement that perpetuate this cycle of abuse. The series produced emotional feedback from listeners, and initiated efforts in Congress to address the shortcomings exposed by Sullivan’s reporting. This series has also received a 2008 RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award, 2007 Gracie Award and Dart Award for Excellence. Sharing this award are NPR’s Steven Drummond, editor; Amy Walters, producer; Maria Godoy, digital media producer; and Weiss.

NPR News and This American Life from Chicago Public Radio and PRI share an award for “The Giant Pool of Money,” an hour-long documentary that explained the subprime mortgage crisis and Wall Street turmoil. Reported by NPR economics correspondent Adam Davidson, This American Life host Ira Glass and reporter Alex Blumberg, the project is recognized by the duPont Jury for using “terrific storytelling and economic insight” to make a complex story accessible to wide radio and web audiences. The tremendous success of “The Giant Pool of Money” led to the creation of Planet Money, a multimedia project from NPR covering the global economy. Davidson, Blumberg and Glass share this award with NPR editor Les Cook and Weiss.

The duPont-Columbia Awards will be presented at a ceremony on January 22 at Columbia University in New York. Accepting the awards on behalf of the organization will be Melissa Block and Robert Siegel; Laura Sullivan; and Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg. Information about the thirteen winners announced this year is available at: www.dupont.org

The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards honoring overall excellence in broadcast journalism were established in 1942 by Jessie Ball duPont in memory of her late husband. Administered since 1968 by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, the awards are considered the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, which the Journalism School also administers.