CNN gets Dupont Award for Tsunami coverage

MUMBAI: CNN has received the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award in the US for its distinguishing coverage of the South Asia tsunami disaster. The judges cited CNN for its ability to provide in-depth reports about a major natural disaster while under considerable deadline and logistical pressures.

CNN US president Jim Walton says, “We are thrilled that the duPont panelists determined that our coverage of the tsunami disaster merited their prestigious award. We certainly believe that our reports were nothing short of extraordinary in their scope, effectiveness and reach. Because of the cooperation among our networks, our journalists were empowered to go far beyond basic reporting to tell the full story of the disaster.”

Demonstrating its reputation as the leading international news network, CNN offered unprecedented round-the-clock coverage of the disaster. Within hours of the news breaking, CNN’s Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Hong Kong had deployed reporters and crew to cover the disaster including Mike Chinoy, Atika Shubert, Satinder Bindra, Stan Grant, Hugh Riminton, Aneesh Raman and Ram Ramgopal. They reported from locations across the region including near the epicenter in Banda Aceh and across Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and Indonesia.

In all, more than 80 of the network’s top anchors, correspondents and producers were deployed. With state-of-the-art broadcasting technology including two satellite dishes, CNN’s reports came from all coasts of the Indian Ocean.

The network produced two special reports Turning the Tide and a documentary Saving the Children anchored by Christiane Amanpour and Anderson Cooper. In addition, featured timely and in-depth reports and provided a survivor locator service that reunited more than 100 families and friends.

CNN’s 10th duPont Award was among 13 chosen from a pool of 628 radio and television news entries that aired in the US between 1 July, 2004, and 30 June, 2005. The winners will be presented with silver batons, the symbol for excellence in television and radio journalism, at an awards ceremony on 18 January 2006 at Columbia University.

In honouring CNN, duPont jurors wrote, “When the tsunami struck South Asia last December, CNN immediately leveraged its overseas bureaus by switching to CNN International to inform US audiences about the disaster. This up-to-the-minute stream of coverage from a deep and nimble roster of correspondents on the ground in Asia demonstrated the power of well-informed reporting under pressure and in dangerous circumstances. CNN’s detailed reporting across the entire region included contextual issues often missed in fast-breaking reporting.”

The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards recognise excellence in broadcast journalism and have been administered by the Graduate School of Journalism since 1968. Created by Jessie Ball duPont in 1942 as a tribute to the journalistic integrity and public-mindedness of her late husband, Alfred I. duPont, the Awards are now regarded as the most prestigious prizes in television and radio news, the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes, which the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism also administers.

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