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WFAA Dallas Wins Gold Baton DuPont Award

Columbia University has announced the winners of the Alfred I. DuPont Awards, given for excellence in broadcast journalism. WFAA Dallas won the Gold Baton, the highest honor given, for their “continuing commitment to outstanding investigative reporting.” It is the first time in the award’s 20-year history that it has been given to a local TV station. 

“This remarkable and diverse group of duPont winners is a tribute to the excellent reporting done by journalists in local and national markets across the country,” said Ann Cooper, duPont Jury chair and coordinator of the broadcast department at Columbia.

The Gold Baton was given to WFAA for three investigative reports by the WFAA’s unit News 8 Investigates which exposed fraudulent loans to support sales by Texas companies, grade changing for failing high school athletes, and the dangers of old gas pipeline couplings which can lead to explosions.

The awards feature a wide range of topics and production styles. International news reports were heavily recognized; CNN and Christiane Amanpour won for the six-hour documentary series on the rise of religious fundamentalism, God’s Warriors, as well as ABC News’ Nightline coverage from eastern Afghanistan, and NPR’s breaking news coverage of the Sichuan Province earthquake in China.  Documentaries from PBS and NPR will also be receiving awards.

The honorees will receive their awards at Columbia University on January 22.  Katie Couric will host the awards along with NBC News co-anchor Hoda Kotb and This American Life host Ira Glass.

For a list of all the winners, visit the 2009 duPont-Columbia Awards web site.