Burbank, CA - Dec. 19, 2012 - KCET, the nation's largest independent public television station, announced today that its hard-hitting nightly news program, SoCal Connected, has won the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for its investigative coverage of the Los Angeles County's Children's Dependency Court. This marks the second duPont-Columbia Award for the award-winning series in three years.
SoCal Connected received the honor for its segment titled, "Courting Disaster," an exclusive, in-depth investigation into Los Angeles County's Children's Dependency Court, the largest in the nation caring for more than 25,000 children. For the first time, television cameras were allowed inside the court and captured children awaiting decisions that would impact their futures while revealing tremendous overcrowding, delays and backlogs that plagued the system. The piece profiled the overwhelming caseloads that judges, attorneys and social workers carry; how additional budget cuts threaten to bring the justice system to a near standstill; and how the judicial system often works against families trying desperately to stay together or reunite.
SoCal Connected's award-winning investigative team was comprised of Bret Marcus, executive producer; Justine Schmidt, co-executive producer; Jennifer London, correspondent; Karen Foshay, producer; Dan Caston, Kenny Gioseffi, Brett Wood, videographers; and Michael Bloecher, editor.
"We are extremely honored to receive a second duPont-Columbia award," said Bret Marcus, executive producer for SoCal Connected and KCET's Chief Content Officer. "This type of special long-form reporting is what SoCal Connected is all about, and we're pleased to be recognized among the nation's best in journalism."
The duPont-Columbia jury described the piece as "exemplary reporting on the consequences of budget cuts to Los Angeles' court system and their devastating impact on families. Well-written and edited... an important story that clearly illustrated the real impact budget cuts are having on families in California."
SoCal Connected received its first duPont-Columbia Award in 2011 for the team's exposé of city regulations on the distribution of marijuana in Southern California ("Up In Smoke" and "Cannabis Cowboys"), worker safety regulations at Cal/OSHA ("Protected or Neglected") and mandatory flood zone designations imposed on homeowners in certain parts of the city ("Hung Out to Dry").
The duPont-Columbia Award honors excellence in broadcast journalism and is considered equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize. The multiple Emmy®-winning series, which also won the 2010 George Foster Peabody Award, has now been awarded broadcast journalism's two most prestigious honors.
SoCal Connected is made possible through the generous support of The Ahmanson Foundation, serving the Los Angeles community since 1952; Jim and Anne Rothenberg; the Maddocks-Brown Foundation; The John Randolph Haynes & Dora Haynes Foundation; and the California Endowment.
SoCal Connected, winner of the Peabody and two duPont-Columbia awards, 17 Emmy® Awards, 19 Golden Mikes, 41 LA Press Club Awards, two Gracie Awards, and three regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, including Best News Documentary and Los Angeles Magazine's "Best New Local TV Program" of 2009, airs nightly at 5:30 p.m. with an encore at 10 p.m. exclusively on KCET. For more information, to view episodes online or to leave comments, please visit www.socalconnected.org.
On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. KCET currently produces the Emmy®, duPont-Columbia and Peabody Award-winning SoCal Connected, a hard-hitting prime-time nightly television news program that examines the issues and people of Southern California. Throughout its 48-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children's programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. For additional information about KCET productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org.
ABOUT ALFRED I. DUPONT-COLUMBIA AWARDS
The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards honor excellence in broadcast and digital journalism and were established in 1942 by Jessie Ball duPont in memory of her husband, Alfred I. duPont. The awards are generously supported by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
Learn more about the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for excellence in broadcast and digital journalism at www.journalism.columbia.edu/dupont.
ABOUT THE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM
For a century, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has been preparing journalists with instruction and training that stresses academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry, and professional practice. Founded with a gift from Joseph Pulitzer, the School opened its doors in 1912 and offers master of science, master of arts, and doctor of philosophy degrees. Learn more at www.journalism.columbia.edu.
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