PBS Programs Are Finalists in Journalism Awards: Watch Now

November 12, 2020
Woman with her hair covered holds a baby in a baby carrier. The baby faces out toward camera.

Frontline presents the Oscar-nominated documentary For Sama on PBS.

Today PBS is recognized for its excellence in journalism with the most finalists for the prestigious 2021 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, which began in 1942. Announced on November 12, the jury has tapped 30 productions and news reports that appeared between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, including three FRONTLINE films, a NOVA documentary on COVID-19, and the American Experience series on the first moon landing, Chasing the Moon.

The duPont-Columbia awards cite the finalists for covering “the most critical, and in some cases dangerous, stories of the year including the coronavirus pandemic, policing in America and protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.”

“In a year when truth was under assault and a pandemic raged across the globe, journalists took on an important role under difficult circumstances,” said Cheryl Gould, duPont Jury Chair and former NBC News executive.

The award winners will be announced in January 2021. In 2020, Christiane Amanpour of Amanpour and Company and The New York Times “The Daily’s” Michael Barbaro hosted the duPont-Columbia Awards on January 21 from Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library.

You can stream these outstanding PBS journalism reports and series here on Thirteen.org, the Thirteen Explore app, on pbs.org and the programs’ official sites.

Trailers are below, followed by the duPont-Columbia Award jury’s notes on the productions and a link watch them.

FRONTLINE Finalists

Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos


As politicians and regulators consider the global impact of Amazon — and how to rein in founder Jeff Bezos’ power, reporter James Jacoby investigated how he built one of the most influential – and controversial – economic and cultural forces in the world. Watch full film.

Visit FRONTLINE official site.

For Sama


A powerful, harrowing documentary by filmmaker Waad al-Kateab went inside makeshift hospitals in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo to provide a personal lens into the country’s enduring conflict. Watch the full film.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia


Reporter Martin Smith’s yearslong reporting and analysis of the rise of Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia resulted in this trenchant FRONTLINE documentary that also underscored the Trump administration’s unwavering support of the regime, no matter its sins. Watch the full film.

NOVA Finalist

Decoding COVID-19


NOVA combined stunning graphics and expert medical analysis with moving human stories in this hour-long primer on the coronavirus crisis, the doctors on its frontlines and researchers in the race for its cure. Watch the full film.

See ongoing reporting on COVID-19 by PBS programs.

Visit NOVA official site.

American Experience Finalist

Chasing the Moon


Thoroughly reported and lovingly crafted with long-forgotten video and news reports from the era, this documentary afforded a definitive look at America’s space race with the Soviet Union that led to the first men landing on the moon. Watch the series: Part 1 (1hr 53min) | Part 2 (1hr, 52min) | Part 3 (1hr, 52min)

Visit American Experience official site.

All Finalists

In addition to PBS programs, finalists for the 2021 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards include NETFLIX and The New York Times, each with two entries; four podcasts—two from WNYC Studios Radiolab; CBS News for coronavirus coverage; NPR and Optimist for reporting on the immigration crisis; HBO and CNN for coverage of the rise of disinformation; NBC News Digital and Upper East Films for reports on mental illness in America; The Washington Post, VICE and AJE Witness for reporting on unrest and uprisings at home and abroad.

Eight local television stations, including two from New York, on the finalist list are: ABC15 Arizona, CBS 2 New York, KDVR/FOX31 Denver, KING 5 Seattle, KSTP Minneapolis, NBC Bay Area, WFAA-TV Dallas and WNBC-TV New York.

Learn more about the awards and programs on the Columbia Journalism School site.