The Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in Television Political Journalism were announced March 6 by the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The 2013 Cronkite Awards recognize distinguished work produced during the 2011-2012 election cycle.
This competition introduced a new category: the Cronkite/Jackson Prize for Fact Checking Political Messages, named for the founding director of FactCheck.org, Brooks Jackson , and selected by a special jury convened by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania, home of FactCheck.org.
The local station winner in the new category was KUSA, the Gannett-owned NBC affiliate in Denver. The jury was impressed by KUSA's commitment of reporter talent to its 44 "Truth Tests," the skill with which it minimized the impact of the visuals in the analyzed ads and the on-air/online synergy created by posting the analyses and supporting articles and sources on 9news.com.
The national winner of the new honor was CNN. Tom Foreman's in-depth "Reality Checks" effectively used three-dimensional graphics to clarify the complexity of the underlying issues, set the candidates' exchanges in historical context and underscore corrections.
The winner in the Local Broadcast Station category was KARE-TV, the Gannett-owned NBC affiliate serving Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. Especially impressive to judges was its coverage of the marriage equality debate.
WBNS 10TV, the Dispatch Broadcast Group-owned CBS affiliate in Columbus, OH, received a Special Commendation for Citizen Engagement. Judges were impressed with the station's online interactive voter guide, created in partnership with the “Columbus Dispatch” and “ThisWeek Community News.”
Others honored included:
- Local Broadcast Station, Individual Achievement – Marshall Zelinger, KMGH, Denver, winner;
- Local Broadcast Station, Individual Achievement - Tom McKee, WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, OH, special commendation for citizen engagement;
- Local Cable Station – Northwest Cable News (NWCN), Belo owned, for innovative production techniques and analysis-heavy coverage, co-winner;
- Local Cable Station - NewsChannel8/Politico/WJLA, Arlington, VA, owned by Allbritton Communications, co-winner;
- Local Public Station – TVW in Olympia, WA, the Washington State Public Affairs Network, a nonprofit funded primarily by the Washington state legislature, winner;
- Local Station Group – Hearst Television and Belo, co-winners.
- National Individual Achievement - Jonathan Karl , ABC News, winner;
- National Individual Achievement - Martha Raddatz , ABC News, special commendation for debate moderation;
- National Network Programming – BET and Univision, co-winners.