UWO grad wins the “Pulitzer Prize of broadcast journalism”

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced the winners of this year’s duPont Award, the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize in broadcast journalism — and one of them is a Canadian.

Megan Chuchmach, who graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2007, produced a two-part investigation for the ABC news-magazine 20/20 called The Coach’s Secret. The report exposed the nationwide cover-up of sexual abuse by 36 USA Swimming coaches towards young female athletes. The story prompted USA Swimming, the sport’s national governing body, to adopt new safeguards to protect their swimmers and also caused the U.S. Olympic Committee to form a special task force to address the issue of sexual and physical abuse towards young athletes by coaches in 32 Olympic sports.

Chuchmach received a Masters in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2008 and will accept the duPont Sliver Baton on behalf of ABC News alongside fellow producer Avni Patel and ABC reporter Brian Ross. A total of 13 media outlets are recipients of this year’s award, including CBS News, BBC World News America, PBS and NPR.

The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism has administered The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards since 1968. The award, which honours excellence in broadcast journalism, was established in 1942 by Jessie Ball duPont in memory of her late husband, the heir to the chemical company E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, commonly referred to as DuPont. Alfred I. duPont created a successful financial institution in Florida and was the owner of a chain of small-town newspapers in Delaware.

Watch part one of The Coach’s Secret:

Part two: