Last night, StoryCorps, NPR and POV were among 14 honorees at the 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards. The jury honored the three organizations for the “innovative” StoryCorps 9/11 animated shorts, which were broadcast as part of the POV series, and are also available online.
The evening celebrated the telling of powerful stories, and the impact doing so can have not just for the subjects, but for the broader community, the nation, and the world.
And while many spoke of the remarkable stories and achievements of the honorees, one of the winners, Ross Jones from WXYZ-TV Detroit, in accepting an award for a piece on corruption in Wayne County, MI, pointed out that this is simply the work of investigative journalism. What’s remarkable about it is that it’s occurring less and less. The reason these stories stand out so much is because they occur in a national context of dwindling newsrooms and shrinking staffs of investigative journalists, which makes the work more important than ever. The stories abound; there are just fewer people telling them.
Looking at another perspective, the founder of StoryCorps, Dave Isay, in accepting the award on behalf of StoryCorps, NPR and POV, said that in the act of telling these stories, there is also catharsis and relief. In explaining the goal, and impact, of the StoryCorps 9/11 project, he said, “The only way that the mind is capable of processing a tragedy on the scale of 9/11 is by breaking it down into authentic, individual stories. I hope the work that our team has done helps audiences understand the magnitude of all that was lost on that day and just for a moment walk in the shoes of those most profoundly affected by the tragedy.”
You can watch the entire evening’s presentation, including all the honorees and clips from their projects, here.