The Sixth is a finalist for the 2024 duPont-Columbia Awards

The Atlanta News First investigative series examines the shortage of public defenders throughout Georgia and the nation.
Published: Nov. 9, 2023 at 2:38 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2023 at 3:34 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Sixth, a continuing in-depth investigative series produced by Atlanta News First Investigates and InvestigateTV, has been named a finalist for the 2024 duPont-Columbia Awards.

The series, led by award-winning investigative reporter Andy Pierrotti, examines the shortage of public defenders throughout Georgia and the nation. Other contributors to the series include, Lee Zurik, vice president of investigations; Jamie Gray, managing editor at InvestigateTV; Lindsey Basye, executive producer of investigations; Luke Carter, investigative photojournalist and lead editor; Eric Carlton, investigative photojournalist; Dimitri Lotovski, investigative photojournalist; Bailey Williams, investigative producer; and Tim Darnell, digital content producer.

The journalism organization announced 30 finalists on Nov. 9, 2023. The Columbia School of Journalism also awards the coveted, annual Pulitizer Prizes, historically given to print and other news-gathering operations.

Other finalists include coverage of Russia’s war on Ukraine from The New York Times and The Associated Press; CBS News’ 60 Minutes; and coverage of Afghanistan from FRONTLINE on PBS.

Founded by Jessie Ball duPont in honor of her late husband Alfred I. duPont, for 80 years the duPont awards have set the standard for audio and video reporting, in broadcast, documentary and online.

The 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.

Every year about a dozen news stories and films are honored by the duPont­-Columbia University Awards for the strength of their reporting, storytelling and impact in the public interest. The winning pieces are selected by the duPont jury from hundreds of entries vetted by a board of screeners.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, at Columbia’s Low Library.


The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to an attorney if you’re accused of a crime and a speedy trial. But Georgia and the nation are experiencing a shortage of public defenders and a backlog of cases creating a crisis.

“The Sixth” sheds light on its the impact to the criminal justice system, people accused of crimes and victims waiting for justice.

If there’s something you would like Atlanta News First Investigative Reporter Andy Pierrotti to look into, email

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