The 2019 Cronkite/Jackson Prize for Fact-Checking Political Messages has been awarded to KUSA 9News, Denver’s NBC affiliate TV station owned by Tegna Inc. The prize is among the Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in Television Political Journalism, a biennial competition administered by the Norman Lear Center of the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
The Brooks Jackson Prize is named in honor of the founding director of FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. FactCheck.org’s co-founder Kathleen Hall Jamieson is director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC), which convened the jury for the Cronkite/Jackson Prize.
The Cronkite Awards aim to celebrate “the indispensability of the free press to the health of American democracy.” In addition to KUSA, this year’s winners included national network journalists from MSNBC/NBC and PBS/ProPublica, as well as local reporters and stations from Los Angeles; Sacramento, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Dallas-Fort Worth; and St. Petersburg, Fla. The E.W. Scripps Company and Hearst Television both won “Local Station Group” awards for their programming.
Two national news specials were honored for coverage of “hot-button issues”: CNN’s Parkland Town Hall, following the school shooting, and a special on climate change from NBC’s Meet the Press. USC Annenberg Professor and Lear Center Director Marty Kaplan said, “If the press is the ‘enemy of the people,’ then being on this ‘enemies’ list is a badge of honor for these exceptional journalists.”
The announcement of honorees said about the Brooks Jackson Prize-winner:
- KUSA 9News, Denver, CO, the Tegna Inc. NBC affiliate, wins its fourth Brooks Jackson Prize in the local broadcast category for its “well researched and well written” presentation that was “lively and interesting.” The APPC jury singled out reporter Brandon Rittiman for his “straightforward, clear and easy to understand” segments and reporter Marshall Zelinger, who “set himself apart by taking a viewer-friendly approach” to fact-checking political ads.
The Cronkite Awards will be awarded on April 26 in Washington, D.C.