FRONTLINE Wins Two 2016 duPont-Columbia Awards

December 15, 2015
by Patrice Taddonio Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist

FRONTLINE documentaries about the worst Ebola outbreak on record and the difficult choices facing transgender children and their parents have been honored with 2016 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for excellence in broadcast and digital news.

Ebola Outbreaka September 2014 report from Sierra Leone as the Ebola epidemic spiraled out of control, and Outbreak, a May 2015 investigation of the missteps in the global response to the epidemic in West Africa, were jointly honored as “two separate comprehensive Ebola documentaries [that] combined to dominate coverage of this tragic international story.”

Growing Up Trans, a June 2015 film examining what life is like for today’s transgender children and their families, was recognized as an “artful feature length documentary [that] presented a poignant, clear-eyed examination of the complex world of transgender children.”

“To have our in-depth journalism on two different issues recognized by the duPont Awards this year is a tremendous honor,” says Raney Aronson-Rath, executive producer of FRONTLINE. “We’re privileged to work with such passionate and talented journalists and producers, who share our deep commitment to telling complex and important stories with fairness, honesty and incisiveness. We’re grateful to our viewers and funders — especially PBS and CPB —  and to our home, WGBH.”

The filmmakers behind Growing Up Trans echoed Aronson-Rath’s gratitude.

“We started working on the film over two years ago, and it’s been amazing to see the dramatic shifts in tone and coverage during that time,”  says producer Karen O’Connor.  “It’s really a new world. And to have the remarkable contributions of the kids, parents and physicians honored with a duPont-Columbia Award makes us proud. We feel very lucky to have told their stories.”

“We think this is an incredibly important subject, and to receive the duPont-Columbia Award, in particular, is a real honor,” says producer Miri Navasky. “Karen and I are thrilled. And we’re even happier that the extraordinary kids in the film — who were so honest, moving and articulate — are being acknowledged like this.”

The filmmakers who led FRONTLINE’s winning coverage of the Ebola crisis were also pleased to receive the award news.

“It’s a huge honor to have our documentary selected by the duPont Awards,” says Ebola Outbreak producer Wael Dabbous, who spent two weeks on the ground in Sierra Leone filming the epidemic up-close in 2014, along with reporter Shaunagh Connaire. “It’s a real recognition of the determination and bravery of all the healthcare workers whose work we captured, and of the courageous families who lost loved ones and who persevered through the nightmare at the heart of this film.”

“Working in West Africa at the height of the Ebola outbreak was difficult and dangerous, and I’m proud of our brave and talented team,” says Outbreak producer Dan Edge, whose team, including producer Sasha J. Achilli, spent four months filming in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in 2014 and 2015. “There was a great deal of counter-productive and hysterical reporting about the crisis, and I really hope our work has contributed to a better understanding of what went wrong — and of how to stop it from happening again.”

The 2016 duPont-Columbia recipients will be honored Jan. 19, 2016. Including this year’s wins, FRONTLINE has earned 33 duPont Awards to date.

You can watch the winning documentaries below.

Ebola Outbreak

From the epicenter of the Ebola crisis, a firsthand look at the outbreak as it spiraled out of control.


The vivid, inside story of how the Ebola outbreak began, and why it wasn’t stopped before it was too late.

Growing Up Trans

A journey inside the struggles and choices facing transgender children and their families.


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