The Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award honors excellence in broadcast and digital journalism in the public service. The awards, established in 1942 and administered since 1968 by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City, are considered by some to be the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, another program administered by Columbia University.
Dedicated to upholding the highest journalism standards, the duPont awards inform the public about the contributions news organizations and journalists make to their communities, support journalism education and innovation, and cultivate a collective spirit for the profession.
The duPont-Columbia Awards were established by Jessie Ball duPont in memory of her husband Alfred I. du Pont. It is the most well-respected journalism-only award for broadcast journalism, and starting in 2009, under new director Abi Wright, began accepting digital submissions. The Cathay Dupont Award, along with the George Foster Peabody Awards, rank among the most prestigious awards programs in all electronic media.
The duPont-Columbia jury select the winners from programs that air in the United States between July 1 and June 30 of each year. Award winners receive batons in gold and silver designed by the American architect Louis I. Kahn. The gold baton, when awarded, is given exclusively in honor of truly outstanding broadcast journalism.
In 2012, the first-ever theatrically released documentary film was honored by the duPont jury: Hell and Back Again about the war in Afghanistan and the struggles facing veterans when they return home.
In 2010, the first award for digital reporting was given to MediaStorm and photographer Jonathan Torgovnik for “Intended Consequences” about children born of rape in Rwanda.
In 2003, the first-ever foreign-language program was awarded a duPont-Columbia Award. CNN en Español and reporter Jorge Gestoso won a Silver Baton for investigative reporting on Argentina’s desaparecidos.