2020 journalists of the year

December 28, 2020 11:00

It was a year unlike any other in most of our lifetimes, and we wanted to take a moment to recognize and thank the journalists who have gone above and beyond this year.

5. Election reporters
Election reporters, you had a challenging year. You worked to tell stories about issues, not only strong political personalities. While a contentious presidential race sucked up attention, you worked to highlight state and local races with virtual candidate forums and other creative solutions. You explained the intricacies of the Electoral College and examined election security. You did all this while facing increasing personal attacks and growing threats to press freedom.
Watch how RTDNA Hogan Award honoree Yamiche Alcindor, PBS NewsHour White House correspondent, held power to account this year.

4. Fact checkers
Fact checkers, you didn’t back down in the face of misinformation, disinformation, denialism or personal attacks. You showed us how to address mis- and disinformation, without fueling the fire, by putting facts first and sandwiching misinformation with verified information. You helped news audiences by verifying viral rumors, debunking when warranted and reinforcing important public health and safety messages.

3. Consumer reporters
COVID-19 was as much an economic story as a health story. As entire industries were forced to adapt or close, millions lost jobs and governments debated policies, you stepped up. You connected the dots between economic trends and the real people affected. You showed people where and how to access benefits, warned your communities of scams and shined a light on shortcomings of official responses. You connected people in your communities with help to offer to those who needed it most.

2. Health care journalists
Health care journalists, this was the year you’ve prepared for your whole careers. You helped us understand complex medical information, interpreted studies and kept the public informed about the latest safety guidelines (and why they change). You battled a lack of transparency on COVID data from federal, state and local agencies. You pushed back against the politicization of health information and made the case for scientific expertise. You pointed out serious social inequities in health outcomes.

You demonstrated how to effectively combat health misinformation. Health care journalists, this was the year we realized we’ve been taking you for granted.
Early career health reporters: Apply for RTDNF’s Minottee Health Reporting Fellowship

1. Local broadcasters
2020 was a perfect storm for you, local broadcasters. Amid a global pandemic, fraught election year and overdue racial reckoning, every day brought a new story of a lifetime.

You've fought every day to get the latest critical information to your community, despite facing a growing "fake news" troll army with just facts and your microphone.

You faced dual threats of physical danger this year from attacks and arrests (with record numbers reported, primarily related to civil unrest) and COVID-19.

You weren’t daunted by the disruptions of 2020 that had you anchoring and producing at home, doing all your interviews on Zoom and using your significant other, roommate or pet as your photog/field producer/teleprompter holder. In fact, you got back to basics, found new ways to be creative and got your community the information they needed most.

You did it all while supervising your kids’ online schooling, taking care of family and navigating threats to your own health and wellbeing.

Journalists, your work matters. Your work made a difference this year. Your work warmed hearts, educated, informed and saved lives. Be proud of your work, and be persistent.