2014 duPont Award Goes to Sports & Society Director Tom Farrey

December 18, 2013  • Institute Contributor

Behind the Story – ESPN from Alfred I. duPont Awards on Vimeo.

Watch Aspen Institute Sports & Society Director Tom Farrey speak with his ESPN colleague Paula Lavigne on why the packages they produced on youth football won the 2014 duPont Award.

Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program Director Tom Farrey has earned a prestigious 2014 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, considered the Pulitzer Prize for broadcast journalism, for a series of stories on topics related to youth football safety, informing and elevating the question of whether kids should play “tackle” at a young age. Farrey wrote and produced two of the three pieces for the ESPN TV program Outside the Lines. He also wrote the three accompanying online stories. 

The work on the award-winning package led Farrey to host the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Football Safety in November 2012, where he further pushed forward the conversation of youth safety in sports and began helping stakeholders identify solutions. Ultimately, President Obama offered his own opinion on the issue covered by the reports and roundtable. “This is a classic example of how I see enterprise journalism and the Aspen Institute working in concert,” Farrey said. “The first breaks down the issues, the latter helps identify opportunities for progress and partnerships.” 

The package nets ESPN its first duPont Award in the network’s 34-year history. Farrey and the rest of the Outside the Lines team will receive the honor on January 21 when ESPN and 13 other news organizations will be celebrated for their commitment to excellence in broadcast journalism. 

Farrey will continue the dialogue on youth sports during an event with President Bill Clinton and LA Laker Kobe Bryant, co-sponsored by Project Play, an initiative within the Aspen Institute Sports & Society program, on January 13 in La Quinta, California. A policy roundtable will follow the event on January 15. 

“On behalf of the Sports & Society Program at the Aspen Institute, Tom has gathered experts from all facets of the field — famed coaches, Olympic medalists, world-renowned leaders — to study how we can invest in our children through sports so that they mature into the country’s next generation of leaders, themselves,” said Elliot Gerson, executive vice president of the Aspen Institute. “We are delighted, though not surprised, that his work is being held up as an example of how journalists can educate to affect some of the most important changes in our nation.”