Press Release

Al Jazeera America wins duPont award

NEW YORK – December 15, 2015 – The Al Jazeera America (AJAM) six-part documentary series, “Hard Earned,” has been honored with an Alfred I. duPont Award from Columbia University for excellence in broadcast and investigative journalism.

“Hard Earned” offers a provocative and intimate look at the lives of five working-class families trying to succeed in America today, when in reality it takes everything they have simply to survive. The documentary series was recognized for its “gritty approach” and “character driven storytelling,” which illustrates “in human terms” what it takes to get by in post-recession America.

“It is a great honor to receive our very first duPont Award,” said Kate O’Brian, President of AJAM. “Hard Earned is another great example of AJAM using the power of original journalism and in-depth storytelling to uncover how today’s most important issues are having an impact on the lives of real Americans.”

“This piece would not have come together without our amazing and dedicated documentary team, and without the focus and determination of our partners at Kartemquin,” said Cynthia Kane, Senior Commissioning Producer, Documentaries for AJAM. “I’m so proud to share this honor with them, as they continue to produce some of the most remarkable stories to share with American audiences.”

“It was an honor for our whole team to tell the stories of these hardworking Americans. We share this award with them, and are grateful to them for opening up their lives to us for this series,” said Series Producer Maggie Bowman. “To have their stories recognized with this duPont award is really incredible and quite moving.”

This is AJAM’s first duPont Award since the company launched in August of 2013. In less than two-and-a-half years on air, AJAM has already been the recipient of nearly every industry award available to an American broadcast and digital news organization. A comprehensive list of AJAM’s awards and accomplishments is available on its website.

“Hard Earned” was produced by Al Jazeera America and the Emmy- and Peabody-winning documentary production team at Kartemquin Films. Executive Producers Gordon Quinn, Steve James and Justine Nagan and Series Producer Maggie Bowman led a team of award-winning directors, which included Katy Chevigny, Maria Finitzo, Ruth Leitman, Brad Lichtenstein and Joanna Rudnick, with the stories interwoven by Co-Directors/Editors David E. Simpson and Liz Kaar. The series features an original theme song “Something to Believe In” by Grammy-nominated recording artist Aloe Blacc.

AJAM will re-air the “Hard Earned” documentary series beginning this Sunday, December 20th at 10pm ET.

About Al Jazeera America
Al Jazeera America is the U.S. news channel that provides both domestic and international news for American audiences. Headquartered in New York City with bureaus in 12 cities across the United States, AJAM carries an award-winning mix of live news, special programming, documentaries and more. To find AJAM in your area, visit AJAM online at  Like us on Facebook and follow @AJAM, @AJAMCorp on Twitter for the latest news and updates. Join the conversation using #AJAM.

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