Trustees of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund awarded $1,367,102 to support the Alfred I. duPont – Columbia University Awards in Broadcast Journalism, the most prestigious awards in broadcast journalism in the United States.
“By celebrating great reporting, the awards strive to do more than set standards for the profession,” writes Steve Coll, Dean and Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism at Columbia. “The awards seek to encourage media companies, now under considerable financial pressure, to allocate resources for ambitious reporting in the public interest.”
The grant will be paid out over the next five years.
The awards were created by Mrs. duPont in 1943 in memory of her late husband. They are funded through the Alfred I. duPont Awards Foundation, to which the Jessie Ball duPont Fund grant was awarded.
Initially, the awards recognized only radio reporting. Television reports became eligible for the awards in 1950.
“Today, the duPont Awards play a critical role by promoting the best journalism in broadcast, digital and documentary reporting,” according to Coll. “At a time of rapid change in the news business, the duPont Awards program has preserved our traditions while innovating the way we celebrate outstanding reporting.”
“We firmly believe that high-quality, independent journalism is a bedrock for healthy democratic communities,” said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie ball duPont Fund. “In an era of quick hits and snippets and a sea of questionable information, it is even more important to lift up thoughtful, well-informed, balanced and substantial reporting. This issues of our times are complex and, more than ever, we need a well-informed public.”
In addition to presenting the awards, the program at Columbia trains and mentors duPont Research Fellows. Today, former duPont Fellows hold positions at NBC News, the Washington Post, CNN and Al Jazeera America.
“We thank the board of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund for its unflagging support of the awards,” Coll writes, “for helping us to strengthen the rights of a free press by celebrating courageous reporting, and for supporting excellence in journalism that serves our communities.”