“COVID’s Hidden Toll” Honored with Scripps Howard Award


April 21, 2021
Anne Husted Manager, Public Relations & Communications, FRONTLINE

COVID’s Hidden Toll — FRONTLINE’s July 2020 investigation examining the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on vulnerable immigrants and undocumented workers who pick and process the food we eat — has been honored with a Scripps Howard Award.

From journalists Daffodil Altan and Andrés Cediel, COVID’s Hidden Toll was recognized by the Scripps Howard Awards with the Ursula and Gilbert Farfel Prize for excellence in national/international investigative reporting.

The award-winning documentary investigated the invisible victims of the coronavirus pandemic, including crucial farm and meat-packing workers who lacked protections and were getting sick as the virus surged around the country.

In the Scripps Howard Awards’ official press release, the judges’ comments read: “The deep access and expertise of the FRONTLINE journalists, built on years of covering abuses of farmworkers, helped create rich, emotional storytelling that rings all too true.”

In pre-recorded commentary from the Scripps Howard Awards’ judges, played during the virtual ceremony, the investigation was recognized for “its emotional pull,” “its deep digging” and for “giving a voice to the voiceless.”

COVID’s Hidden Toll is the latest installment in Altan and Cediel’s award-winning body of work exposing the hidden realities facing low-wage immigrant workers in the U.S., many of whom are undocumented. The film was supported by Chasing the Dream, a public media initiative from WNET in New York that examines poverty, justice and economic opportunity in America.

We are so honored to receive a Scripps Howard Award — one that values the rigorous journalism behind ours and the tremendous finalists in our category,” Altan and Cediel said in a joint statement. “We continue to do this reporting to illuminate the injustices facing the most essential but often unseen workers, in this case, agricultural workers, who during the pandemic have risked their lives so that all Americans could continue to put food on their tables.”

“We’re so pleased to see Daffodil and Andrés’ dogged investigative reporting be recognized with this Scripps Howard Award,” says FRONTLINE’s executive producer, Raney Aronson-Rath. “Their accountability journalism shone a bright light on the essential workers who’ve been among the most vulnerable during the pandemic, and we are grateful for their commitment to truth-seeking storytelling.

The 68th annual Scripps Howard Awards were virtually presented on Wednesday, April 21. You can watch the award-winning documentary in its entirety below: