The E. W. Scripps Company and television station KUSA in Denver have won the 2017 Cronkite/Jackson Prize for Fact-Checking Political Messages, it was announced today by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Norman Lear Center and the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The Cronkite/Jackson Prize is one of the Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in Television Political Journalism. This is the third time that the biennial Cronkite competition included the Cronkite/Jackson Prize.
The Cronkite/Jackson Prize honors Brooks Jackson, 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, which convened the jury for the Cronkite/Jackson Prize.
This latest series of Cronkite awards was announced by the Lear Center at a time when the news media, reporters, and even the existence of verifiable facts are under attack. As USC Annenberg Professor and Lear Center Director Marty Kaplan said, “Today, at this seriously dangerous moment for our democracy, these Cronkite Awards honor journalists, stations and networks stepping up to their civic responsibility to tell Americans the truth.” (To read more of the Lear Center announcement click here.)
Of the two winners of the Cronkite/Jackson Prize, the announcement says:
- KUSA, Denver, CO, wins the local Fact-Checking award. KUSA won the Cronkite/Jackson Prize in 2013 and 2015 as well. The jury said KUSA has set a “high standard for fact-checking on a local TV station.” The research, writing and presentation serve as a model for how to help viewers cut through the political spin. Political reporter Brandon Rittiman’s reports are “clear, concise, well documented and well delivered,” the jury said.
- The E.W. Scripps Company wins the national Fact-Checking award. The jury broke from past practice to recognize the work of a news organization that leveraged its local stations to have a national impact. Working with the national fact-checking website PolitiFact, Scripps “provides a template for doing fact-checking consistently well” across many TV affiliates, the jury said. It produced 70 fact-checks with PolitiFact and another 160 fact-checks from its state-level PolitiFact affiliates in Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona. The reports were “accurate, informative and well presented,” the jury said.
Other winners of the Cronkite Awards include local stations and reporters in Denver; Austin, Texas; New Orleans; San Diego, Calif., and Milwaukee. Hearst Television won in the “Local Station Group” category for its eighth consecutive Cronkite award. In the special category “Achievement in National Investigative Journalism,” prizes were awarded to Dina Gusovsky and CNBC.com for exposing problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system, and to María Elena Salinas and Univision for immigration coverage. For the news release on the awards, click here.