FRONTLINE’s “Policing the Police” Wins Walter Cronkite Award


June 2, 2021
Anne Husted Series Publicity Manager, FRONTLINE

The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism announced today that FRONTLINE’s September 2020 investigation Policing the Police 2020 has been honored with a Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.

From correspondent and The New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb, producers James Jacoby and Anya Bourg, co-producer Megan Robertson and in partnership with WNET’s Chasing the Dream initiative, Policing the Police 2020 examined the realities of race and policing in America, airing in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, and amid a global pandemic disproportionately killing people of color.

Saluted by the Cronkite Awards jury as “thoughtful, balanced and inspiring,” the documentary revisited the Newark Police Department, whose police-reform efforts were first examined by the film team in FRONTINE’s 2016 film Policing the Police.

“What this story does — beautifully — is illuminate,” judges said about the work of correspondent Jelani Cobb and filmmakers James Jacoby and Anya Bourg, “shedding light on police reform without drama or hyperbole, using a story of abuse and intolerance to bring a sense of calm and search for solutions.” The jury recognized the reporting for also spotlighting key issues related to “education, housing, health care and other systems permeated by racial inequity.”

“We’re deeply honored to be recipients of the Walter Cronkite Award. The questions of race, violence and policing have only grown more pertinent in the time since we made this film and it’s humbling to see our contribution to the dialogue on this issue recognized with this great distinction,” says Cobb. 

“We are so pleased to see Jelani, James and Anya’s investigative reporting be recognized by the Walter Cronkite Awards,” says Raney Aronson-Rath, FRONTLINE’s executive producer. “As the debate over policing and racial justice in America continues, we’re honored to see Policing the Police 2020 serve as a resource that can further the national conversation. We share this great news with our partners at WNET’s Chasing the Dream, whose generous support helped make this investigation possible.”

As noted in the Walter Cronkite Awards’ official announcement, this year was the first time the award entries were limited to three subject matter categories: systemic racism, the coronavirus pandemic and the integrity of elections.

The Walter Cronkite Awards have been presented biennially since 2001. As noted in the official release, the awards aim to “spotlight journalism that seeks truth, examines inequities, serves the public and demonstrates the indispensability of a free and trustworthy press.”

This year’s awards will be presented at a virtual ceremony this summer. You can read a full list of this year’s winners here, and watch FRONTLINE’s award-winning film Policing the Police 2020 below:

Policing the Police 2020 (Credits):

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