FRONTLINE Founder Receives Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cape Town


FRONTLINE founder David Fanning graduating from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 1969, and receiving his honorary doctorate in 2014.

December 17, 2014

When David Fanning was growing up in apartheid-era South Africa, television was banned for being too subversive, and the government was cracking down on the independent press.

But that didn’t stop Fanning from pursuing investigative journalism and filmmaking — and, ultimately, dedicating his life to merging the two.

On Dec. 18, Fanning — who founded FRONTLINE in 1983 and has served as its executive producer ever since — will be honored in his home country for his extraordinary contribution to investigative journalism.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) will present an honorary doctorate to Fanning, who earned his undergraduate degree at the school and served as editor of the university’s student newspaper.

“This is an extraordinary honor,” Fanning says. “I look back at the decisions I made as a young person in those years at UCT in the ’60s, the people who influenced me, and how the crucible of those dramatic times shaped me, and I am deeply grateful. It all counted, and I am amazed to be back here among old friends. What a privilege.”

In a statement announcing this year’s honorary doctorate recipients, UCT described Fanning as “one of the most distinguished international media figures to have emerged from UCT,” and hailed FRONTLINE for its “excellence, independence, and integrity.”

Under Fanning’s leadership, FRONTLINE has become the longest-running investigative documentary series on television. FRONTLINE has won every major award in broadcast journalism, including 69 Emmy Awards and 16 Peabody Awards. Fanning was honored with an Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award last year.

Check back for video from the UCT ceremony.

Patrice Taddonio

Patrice Taddonio, Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist, FRONTLINE



In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

Cheat Codes: Students Search For Shortcuts as Virtual Schooling Expands
Cheating has always been an issue in schools, but there is little getting in the way for students today. Shared answers have become even more accessible as districts have adopted or expanded their use of popular online learning programs.
October 23, 2020
As Purdue Pharma Agrees to Settle with the DOJ, Revisit Its Role in the Opioid Crisis
The proposed $8.3 billion settlement between Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, and the federal government is the latest in a battle over who is responsible for the nation’s opioid crisis, as covered by FRONTLINE in "Chasing Heroin" and "Opioids, Inc."
October 21, 2020
With Election 2020 Underway, a Key Provision of the Voting Rights Act Languishes
Against the backdrop of a pandemic and a divisive presidential election, legislation to restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, following the landmark 2013 Supreme Court 2013 decision Shelby v. Holder, remains locked in Congress.
October 21, 2020
We Investigated 'Whose Vote Counts.' Our Findings Unfold Tonight.
A note from our executive producer about the new documentary 'Whose Vote Counts,' premiering Oct. 20.
October 20, 2020