Journalism Lives! Or Does It?

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“Journalism is not dead!” was the defiant cry from Thursday night’s Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards. Columbia Journalism School Dean Nicholas Lemann exhorted the “connected crowd” to turn off their phones and go off the grid for an hour to celebrate the journalistic achievements of their colleagues.

The awards, presented as they have been since 1968 at Columbia University, highlighted local investigative pieces like corrupt double-dipping judges, or pill-pushing doctors, pieces on the effects of the economy on children or of the Iraq war on soldiers (See the full list of 2010 winners).

PBS and duPont-Columbia Awards host Gwen Ifill stands with The Judge and the General crew as they receive their baton.

The judges also honored POV’s The Judge and the General by Elizabeth Farnsworth and Patricio Lanfranco:

“In this superb documentary, Farnsworth and Lanfranco follow one man’s transformation as he investigates human rights violations in Chile from the Pinochet era. The man, Juan Guzmán, is a conservative judge who ultimately challenges General Augusto Pinochet’s immunity and prosecutes him.”

In accepting the award, Farnsworth called POV and ITVS “a beacon” for journalists and documentarians, and Patricio Lanfranco cautioned the audience about the recent rise of the right wing in Santiago.


The duPont-Columbia jury also gave its first award to a Web-based production, “Intended Consequences” by journalist Jonathan Torgovnik, and produced by MediaStorm, which tells the story of Rwandan rape survivors and their complicated relationships with the children born of that violence.

NPR’s Steve Inskeep got choked up when accepting an award for a piece on race he did with Michelle Norris for NPR, saying that he was grateful for the chance to work on the project for the effect it had on him, on seeing what stories and people were important to cover.

Katie Couric was recognized for her Sarah Palin interview. Couric stressed the importance of the follow-up question, and not to let wavering answers stand.

I had the chance to ask Elizabeth Farnsworth about the latest news on Judge Guzmán. You can hear her response in this video clip:

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And in this clip, Lanfranco talks about his upcoming project on the environment.

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So what do you think? Is journalism thriving? Well, it seems that broadcast and Web journalism can certainly celebrate, though the fate of their print colleagues may not be as rosy.

What’s your take? Are there any pieces you’d give an award? Post a comment below!

David Nanasi
David Nanasi
David has worked on POV's website since its infancy, helping to develop and nurture it, as well as producing special features. David also oversees and administers POV's internal network, maintaining hardware and software for the POV staff. Prior to joining POV, David, served on the staff of CyberEd, an 18-wheeler Internet classroom that toured nationwide. Since 1997, David has worked independently as a computer consultant, including systems, networks, databases, and web design and construction. David's favorite documentaries are: 1. Eyes on the Prize - Henry Hampton (Executive Producer) 2. Crumb - Terry Zwigoff 3. The Thin Blue Line - Errol Morris 4. Roger & Me - Michael Moore 5. The Camden 28 - Anthony Giacchino