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So Many Digital First ‘News’ Outlets, So Little Investigative Reporting

The 2014 duPont Award Winners from Alfred I. duPont Awards on Vimeo.

The winners of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards were announced this week, and though they are given for broadcast, radio,  and multimedia reporting, it’s sort of surprising that more digital projects weren’t awarded a coveted silver — or even gold — baton.

The Center for Investigative Reporting took home two awards for their “Rape in the Fields” and “Broken Shield” projects. Another digital winner was radio station WYPR out of Baltimore for “The Lines Between Us.

Other winners were CBS for their “sober and professional” coverage of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, ESPN won for reporting on youth football leagues, and WBEZ Chicago won for This American Life‘s two part series on Harper High School. You can see a full list of winners, with links to the entries here.

The duPont awards were created originally for radio reporting, but expanded to include television as technology evolved. Each winner receives a baton engraved with words from Edward R. Murrow:

This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends.  Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.

Now, the awards can include documentaries and digital reporting. It sort of bothers me that only three of the winners were for multimedia reporting. Of course, it’s great that so many television and radio and film organizations are engaged in serious, investigative reporting. But with the ubiquity of digital first news organizations, as technology evolves and we all move online, I’m surprised and curious as to why there aren’t more digital winners. Maybe we’re too busy falling for the latest, viral hoax or creating the next Snowfall. Let’s make a new year’s resolution to do more reporting. We can’t let CIR have all the fun — although we should be very grateful that they are.

Prove me wrong: who are your winners for the best digital investigative reporting this year? Share the story in the comments or tweet us with them @10000Words

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