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ISU alum receives duPont Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism

jeff blackburn headshot

Jeff Blackburn '05 was one of the 14 winners of the 2015 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards.

The 2015 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards have been awarded, and a School of Communication alumnus is among the winners.

Jeff Blackburn ’05, mass communication, is an investigative and watchdog 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 yearlong investigation that revealed that at least four people were accused of arson by local firefighters who had falsely testified in court. Blackburn was both photographer and editor on the reports.

For over 70 years Columbia University has given the duPont Award to recognize excellence in broadcast journalism. This award is one of the most prestigious prizes in the field–often regarded as the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.

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

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

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