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CNN Earns Prestigious duPont Award for Tsunami Coverage


December 15, 2005, CNN received an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for its distinguishing coverage of the South Asia tsunami disaster, it was announced by Columbia University on Wednesday, Dec. 14. The judges cited CNN for its ability to provide in-depth reports about a major natural disaster while under considerable deadline and logistical pressures.

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

In a demonstration as the leading international news network, CNN offered unprecedented round-the-clock coverage of the disaster, having deployed to the region more than 80 of its top anchors, correspondents and producers as well as state-of-the-art broadcasting technology including two satellite dishes. As a result, CNN’s reports came from all coasts of the Indian Ocean.

Within days of the tsunami hitting coastlines, CNN aired in-depth prime-time specials titled “Turning the Tide” and a heart-rending documentary “Saving the Children,” anchored by Christiane Amanpour and Anderson Cooper. 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 United States between July 1, 2004, and June 30, 2005. The winners will be presented with silver batons, the symbol for excellence in television and radio journalism, at an awards ceremony on Jan.18, 2006, at Columbia University.

In honoring 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 U.S. 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 recognize 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.

CNN, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is one of the world’s most respected and trusted sources for news and information. Its reach extends to 14 cable and satellite television networks; two private place-based networks; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; six Web sites, including, the first major news and information Web site; and CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service.


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