WRAL Doc Unit Honored for “Doing It Better”

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Standards of Living
WRAL-TV’s “Standards of Living” documentary recently won recognition from Columbia University’s School of Journalism.

A WRAL-TV documentary has come out a winner again. Columbia University’s School of Journalism recently honored “Focal Point:  Standards of Living” with its “Let’s Do It Better” Award as part of the University’s Workshop on Journalism, Race & Ethnicity.

WRAL-TV Documentary Photographer Jay Jennings traveled to New York to accept the award on Friday, May 4, 2007.  The “Let’s Do It Better” awards program was established in 1999 to foster coherent, complete and courageous coverage of race and ethnicity in American as “an urgent journalistic duty.”

Clay Johnson Jay Jennings David Crabtree
The WRAL-TV “Standards of Living” team: Clay Johnson (l to r) Jay Jennings & David Crabtree.

“Focal Point: Standards of Living” originally aired in August of 2005.  WRAL-TV Documentary Producer Clay Johnson, Anchor David Crabtree & Jennings teamed up to create the half-hour program.

The workshop held in conjunction with the awards ceremony showcases exemplary performance on leading and covering issues on race, ethnicity and demographic change in the United States.  Participants were selected to attend the workshop based on their desire to improve the diversity of their own workplaces or classrooms by using the honored work as “best practice” teaching models.

“There were people from several countries attending the workshop,” said Jennings.  “What a great chance to connect with other journalists and educators from all around the world.”

Jennings spoke at the workshop.  After showing the documentary, he spent over an hour fielding questions from the audience of about 100 journalists, editors and journalism professors.  The group asked Jennings about journalistic decisions for the documentary such as why certain subjects were chosen for interviews, how the WRAL team gained access to camps, legal hurdles, and difficulties in translation. 

Watch the award-winning documentary online:

“It was an incredible honor to represent the doc unit and the station,” said Jennings.  “Everyone was amazed at the commitment of a local station to produce regularly scheduled documentaries.  It’s obvious that WRAL is the exception when it comes to this kind of journalism.”

WRAL-TV was the only local station recognized in the competition.  Columbia awarded only one other television outlet, Bryant Gumbel and HBO’s “Real Sports” program.


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