UIS alum receives duPont Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism – News

The 2015 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards have been presented and an alumnus of the School of Communication is among the recipients.

Jeff Blackburn ’05, mass communication, is an investigative and surveillance photojournalist at KPNX in Phoenix. He and investigative reporter Wendy Halloran, along with team members Mark Phillips, Bryan West and Mark Casey, were among the winners honored at this year’s ceremony.

The team conducted a year-long investigation which revealed that at least four people had been charged with arson by local firefighters who had falsely testified in court. Blackburn was both photographer and news editor.

For more than 70 years, Columbia University has awarded the duPont Prize to recognize excellence in broadcast journalism. This prize is one of the most prestigious prizes in the field, often considered the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.

In addition to her recent duPont award, Blackburn also won three regional Emmys and the Arizona AP First Amendment award. While in Illinois, he worked at TV10 and participated in the Student Television Workshop (STW).

News Director of TV10 Laura Trendle Polus ’87, MS ’00, worked closely with Blackburn during the years he learned his trade in the basement of Fell Hall: “It’s been great to follow Jeff’s career, which has taken him from Decatur at Tempe in Phoenix, and now in a senior mid-level position at his Phoenix station, he is an excellent example of the vital role those behind the camera can play in producing quality journalistic work.

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