2016 Distinguished Achievement Award

Kathy Park with DAA winners

Each year as part of our Media for a Just Society Awards, NCCD recognizes one superior achievement in journalism, filmmaking, or other media that brings the systems we work with into the spotlight. The Distinguished Achievement Award was created to honor works with lasting, singular impact that illustrate current realities or the promise of reform. Past recipients include Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy), Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), and Andrew Solomon (Far From the Tree).

We are proud to announce the winners of this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award: the creators of the breakout Netflix documentary Making a Murderer, Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi of Synthesis Films.

Since its release, Making a Murderer has captured the nation’s attention in a way that few documentaries have. The series raises compelling questions about how our juvenile and criminal justice systems work—or don’t work—told through the homicide trials of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.

Making a MurdererOpinions range widely about the individuals portrayed in the series, which is unsurprising given the complexity of the story that Demos and Ricciardi tell. What is irrefutable is that the series has brought the vagaries of the justice system into the popular conversation, engendering discussion and debate about common practices, especially those around juveniles. Making a Murderer reminds us that we all have a stake in these conversations and in these systems.

Ms. Demos and Ms. Ricciardi accepted the Distinguished Achievement Award in a special presentation at the 2016 NCCD Conference on Children, Youth, and Families.

Click here to read about last year’s winner, Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy.

Past Distinguished Achievement Award winners: