Awards / Professional Excellence and Service Awards

Erik Barnouw Award

Recognizing outstanding programming on television, or in documentary film, concerned with American history, the study of American history, and/or the promotion of American history.



The Erik Barnouw Award is given given annually by the Organization of American Historians in recognition of outstanding programming on television, or in documentary film, concerned with American history, the study of American history, and/or the promotion of American history. The award honors the late Erik Barnouw, Columbia University, a historian of the mass media.


Submissions should be self-contained products even though their content may extend across other media platforms (including podcasts and websites). Only films and video programs of at least 25 minutes in length released between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023 are eligible for entry.

Mini-series submissions should submit only one episode.

Submission Process

One copy of each entry, clearly labeled “2024 Erik Barnouw Award Entry,” must be sent directly to the award committee members. Each committee member must receive all applications submitted or postmarked by January 5, 2024.

The committee accepts clearly labeled DVDs by mail. The committee prefers that work is submitted via an online video hosting service such as Vimeo. Please provide the committee members with a link to the work and a password for access.

Please mail submissions to the committee members listed below:

Eduardo Pagan, Chair
Email for mailing address and to provide title(s) you will submit for consideration so the committee can verify that all books have been received: [email protected]

Malinda Lowery
561 South Kilgo Circle NE 
Bowden Hall, Room 221
Atlanta, GA 30322-1120
[email protected]

Past Winners


The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, Peacock (directors Johanna Hamilton and Yoruba Richen, independent filmmakers) 


Look Away, Look Away, Scenic Films, Patrick O’Connor, director/producer, Margaret McMullan, producer


The People vs. Agent Orange. Directors: Alan Adelson, Kate Taverna; Producers: Alan Adelson, Kate Taverna, Véronique Bernard; Editor: Kate Taverna; Executive Producers: Abigail E. Disney, Maxyne Franklin, Sally Jo Fifer, Gini Reticker, Lois Vossen; Supervising Producer: David Eisenberg; Commissioning Editor: Mark Edwards; a Films for Humanity co-production with Independent Television Services (ITVS) for Independent Lens, and ARTE, France


Chasing the Moon, A Robert Stone Production for American Experience: Robert Stone, Writer, Producer and Director; Susan Bellows, Senior Producer; Mark Samels, Executive Producer.


The Chinese Exclusion Act, a co-production of Steeplechase Films and the Center for Asian American Media. Directed by Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu. Produced and written by Ric Burns, Robin Espinola, and Li-Shin Yu. Executive Producers: Stephen Gong and Donald Young, Center for Asian American Media; Mark Samels, American Experience.


The Vietnam War, a co-production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington, D.C.; Directors: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick; Producers: Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick, and Ken Burns; written by Geoffrey C. Ward


The Mine Wars, A Film Posse, Inc. production for American Experience: Randall MacLowry, Producer and Director; Mark Zwonitzer, Writer; James E. Dunford, Managing Director; Susan Bellows, Senior Producer; Mark Samels, Executive Producer


No Más Bebés, Moon Canyon Films; Renee Tajima-Peña and Virginia Espino, Producers; Renee Tajima-Peña, Director


The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, a co-production of Florentine Films and WETA Washington D.C. Director: Ken Burns; Producers: Paul Barnes, Pam Tubridy Baucom, and Ken Burns

Honorable Mention: 1971, Director and Producer: Johanna Hamilton; Producers: Marilyn Ness and Katy Chevigny; Associate Producer: Danielle Varga. Maximum Pictures and Fork Films in a co-production with the Independent Television Service (ITVS), in association with Big Mouth Productions, Motto Pictures, Candescent Films, and the Ford Foundation JustFilms.


Honor & Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story, Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers, Producers, Stourwater Pictures

Honorable Mention: Rebel, María Agui Carter, Writer, Director, Producer and Calvin Lindsay, Producer, PBS. Co-produced by Iguana Films with The Independent Television Services (ITVS), Latino Public Broadcasting and WPBT, major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Sally Jo Fifer, executive producer for ITVS.


American Experience: Death and the Civil War, Ric Burns, Director/Writer/Producer, Steeplechase Films


The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An Urban History, directed by Chad Freidrichs, Director and Assistant Professor, Digital Filmmaking Department, Stephens College ANPO: Art x War, Linda Hoaglund, Director and Producer


The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, directed by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, Kovno Communications


Passage, directed by John Walker, distributed by Bullfrog Films, Inc.

Honorable Mention: Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness, California Newsreel

Honorable Mention: We Shall Remain, PBS series American Experience. Executive Producers: Sharon Grimberg and Mark Samels. Producers: Ric Burns, Sarah Colt, Dustinn Craig, Stanley Nelson, Cathleen O’Connell, Rob Rapley, and Mark Zwonitzer.


Wings of Defeat, Edgewood Pictures, Inc., Risa Morimoto and Linda Hoaglund, filmmakers.

Banished, a film produced and directed by Marco Williams and a coproduction of Two Tone Productions, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Independent Television Service (ITVS), and the National Black Programming Consortium, with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Sally Jo Fifer, executive producer for ITVS.

Honorable Mention: The Lobotomist, produced and directed by Barak Goodman and John Maggio for the PBS series American Experience.


Through Deaf Eyes a film by Lawrence Hott and Diane Garey, a production of WETA Washington, DC, and Florentine Films/Hott Productions, in association with Gallaudet University

Honorable Mention: Revolution ’67, Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno, Bongiorno Productions Inc., Independent Television Service (ITVS), and P.O.V./American Documentary Inc., in association with WSKG, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). (California Newsreel, distributor)


Randall MacLowry, The Gold Rush a Yellow Jersey Films, Inc. production for American Experience, produced in association with KQED television; Randall MacLowry and Laura Longsworth producers; directed by Randall MacLowry

Honorable Mention: Sacco and Vanzetti, Peter Miller, producer/director (Willow Pond Films)

Honorable Mention: July ’64: The Roots of Urban Unrest in America, Carvin Eison, director; Chris Christopher, producer (California Newsreel)

Honorable Mention: The Boy in the Bubble, an Ark Media film for American Experience, produced and directed by Barak Goodman and John Maggio


The Documentary Institute, College of Journalism and Communications, the University of Florida, Negroes with Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power (Sandra Dickson & Churchill Roberts, co-directors; Cindy Hill & Cara Pilson, associate directors; California Newsreel, distributor)

Honorable Mention: American Experience, Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (Robert Stone, producer; New Video, distributor)

Honorable Mention: American Experience, Two Days in October (Mark Samels, executive producer; Robert Kenner, producer; PBS, distributor)


American Experience, Reconstruction, the Second Civil War (episode one: Llewellyn M. Smith, producer and director; episode two: Elizabeth Deane, producer and director, Patricia Garcia Rios, co-producer and co-director; series producer: Elizabeth Deane).

Honorable Mention: California Newsreel, February One (Rebecca Cerese, producer, Video Dialog; Stephen Channing, executive producer, Video Dialog).

Honorable Mention: American Experience, Patriots Day (written, directed, and produced by Marian Marzynski).


Partners of the Heart, Andrea Kalin, Spark Media, Inc.

Honorable Mention: David Appleby, University of Memphis, Hoxie: The First Stand


Judith Ehrlich and Rick Tejada-Flores, produced by Paradigm Productions Inc. in association with Independent Television Service, The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It

Honorable Mention: Strange Fruit produced/directed by Joel Katz, Oniera Films LLC


Daniel Anker and Barak Goodman, Scottsboro: An American Tragedy, Social Media Productions


The Documentary Institute at the College of Journalism and Communications of the University of Florida, ”Freedom Never Dies: The Legacy of Harry T. Moore,” Sandra Dickson and Churchill Roberts, producer-directors.


Henry Hampton, “I’ll Make Me a World: A Century of African-American Art,” Blackside, Inc.


Nina Gilden Seavey, “A Paralyzing Fear: The Story of Polio in America,” directed by Nina Gilden Seavey, George Washington University, and produced by Paul Wagner, Paul Wagner Productions, Inc., and Nina Gilden Seavey.


Austin Hoyt, “The Richest Man in the World: Andrew Carnegie,” American Experience.

Honorable Mention: Vivian Ducat, ”Hawaii’s Last Queen,” Ducat Segal Productions, Inc.


Stephen Ives, Insignia Films, “The West”


Blackside, Inc., “America’s War ”


Connie Field and Marilyn Mulford, “Freedom on My Mind,” Clarity Films.


David Appleby, Allison Graham, and Steven Ross, “At the River I Stand,” California Newsreel.


Christine M. Lesiak and Matthew L. Jones, “In the White Man’s Image,” Nebraska ETV Network


Ric Burns and Buddy Squires, “Coney Island,” Steeplechase Films

Vivian Kleiman and Marlon T. Riggs, “Color Adjustment,” Signifyin’ Works


Henry Hampton, “Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads, 1965–1985,” Blackside, Inc.

Honorable Mention: “Ulysses S. Grant” Part I written, produced, and directed by Adriana Bosch: Part II written, produced, and directed by Elizabeth Deane, for American Experience


Richard Kilberg and Yvonne Smith, “Adam Clayton Powell,” a program from the PBS series ”The American Experience” a production of WGBH/WNET/KCET


Martha Sandlin and Barbara Abrash, “Indians, Outlaws and Angie Debo,” Institute for Research in History


Robert Stone (Director and Producer) “Radio Bikini,” Crossroads Production Company

Alvin H. Perlmutter (Executive Producer), Joan Konner (Co-executive Producer), and Bill Moyers (Executive Editor), “The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis,” Public Affairs Television


No award given.


Ken Burns, “Huey Long,” distributed by Corinth Films, New York


Past America, Inc., “Solomon Northup’s Odyssey”

CBS News, Joel Heller, producer, ”The Legacy of Harry Truman”


WGBH-Boston, 13-part series, “Vietnam: A Television History”


Ken Burns, “Brooklyn Bridge”