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St. Bonaventure alumnus Charlie Specht, Class of 2010, was honored today with a 2020 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for his investigative reporting into the sex abuse scandal in the Diocese of Buffalo.
Specht’s reporting over the last year on the mishandling of the crisis ultimately led to last week’s resignation of Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone. Specht is the chief investigative reporter at WKBW-TV, the ABC affiliate in Buffalo.
Columbia’s announcement lauded Specht’s reporting: “The searing compilation of investigative reports took clergy sex abuse and cover-up by the Catholic Church, and revealed hidden, long-standing problems within the diocese in Buffalo.”
On Twitter, Specht lauded those who came forward to give credence to his reporting.
“Thank you to the survivors and also to Siobhan O’Connor and Fr. Ryszard Biernat, two devout Catholics who gave up their careers and so much more to expose truth in the Buffalo Diocese. This is a tribute to you,” he wrote.
The Alfred I duPont-Columbia Award is considered the Pulitzer Prize of broadcast journalism, said St. Bonaventure’s Aaron Chimbel, dean of the Jandoli School of Communication.
“Charlie’s work represents the best ideals of the Jandoli School and its founder, Dr. Russell Jandoli,” Chimbel said. “This dogged, important reporting and willingness to confront a powerful institution and leader shows why thoughtful journalism is so important.”
Columbia Journalism School announced the 16 winners, who will be awarded their Silver Batons at Low Memorial Library at the university on Tuesday, Jan. 21, in a ceremony hosted by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and Michael Barbaro, host of the New York Times podcast, The Daily.
The Alfred I duPont-Columbia Awards uphold the highest standards in journalism by honoring winners annually, informing the public about those journalists’ contributions and supporting journalism education and innovation, thereby cultivating a collective spirit for the profession.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2019, St. Bonaventure was named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.
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