Christof Putzel

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Christof Putzel
Born 1979
Washington, D.C.
Education Connecticut College
Occupation Journalist
Years active 2003–present
Notable credit(s) Vanguard
America Tonight

Christof Putzel is an award-winning journalist most recently with Al Jazeera America's news magazine America Tonight. He was formerly a correspondent for Vanguard, Current TV's investigative documentary series.[1] His work has also been featured on ABC’s Nightline, Good Morning America, CNN, PBS, CBC, and the Sundance Channel.[2]


Christof began his production career while still an undergraduate at Connecticut College, where he produced his first documentary, "Left Behind," about AIDS orphans in Kenya. After screening at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, the film won a Student Academy Award, a Student Emmy, the International Documentary Association’s David Wolper Award, and the HBO Films Best Student Film Award.

Christof joined Current TV in 2005 as one of the network’s first employees. The following year, he was the first American television journalist to report from Mogadishu, Somalia since the infamous Black Hawk Down incident in 1993. His resulting story, Mogadishu Madness, about the rise and fall of the Islamic Court Union, was nominated for an Emmy.

He has since trekked in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo to cover the exploitation of child gold miners, made the treacherous journey through the desert to cross the Mexico/US border with migrants trying to reach American soil, and camped on the southern shores of Yemen, where he discovered the bodies of more than two-dozen refugees who drowned attempting to escape the violence in Somalia.

In 2009, Putzel won both the prestigious Livingston Award for International Reporting and Columbia University’s Alfred I. duPont Award for his report, “From Russia with Hate,” about the rise of violent attacks against immigrants in Moscow by neo-Nazi skinheads. The following year, Christof was nominated for his third Emmy for “Lost in Democracy,” a documentary about the first democratic elections held in the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan.

In 2012, "Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes," a documentary centered around Aldi, "the Indonesian smoking baby," went viral after exposing Philip Morris's marketing practices in the developing world.[3] It won an Overseas Press Club Award, a PRISM Award, and was nominated for an Emmy.

In 2013, Christof was awarded his second duPont-Columbia Award for "Arming the Mexican Cartels," an investigation into the trafficking of guns into Mexico from the United States.[4]

On June 17, 2013 it was announced that Putzel will be a correspondent for the upcoming news program America Tonight which will air on Al Jazeera America at 9:00 pm eastern time.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Putzel is a third generation news reporter. His father, Michael Putzel, covered the Vietnam War and the White House for the Associated Press. His mother, Ann Blackman, was a correspondent for Time Magazine and a reporter for the Associated Press. His grandfather, Samuel G. Blackman, was a top editor for the Associated Press.[6]

Christof was married to Julia Taft, a great-granddaughter of the late Robert A. Taft, Republican senator from Ohio, and a great-great-granddaughter of President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft. They divorced in 2013.[7]


Year Award Organization Work Category Result
2013 Alfred I. duPont Award Columbia University "Arming the Mexican Cartel" Silver Baton Won[8]
2012 Carl Spielvogel Award Overseas Press Club "Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes" Best International Business Reporting Won[9]
Prism Award Entertainment Industries Council "Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes" Best Documentary, News Magazine-Substance Use Won[10]
Emmy Award National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences "Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes" Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting: Longform Nominated[11]
2009 Emmy Award National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences "Lost in Democracy" Best New Approach: Arts & Culture Nominated
Alfred I. duPont Award Columbia University "From Russia With Hate" Silver Baton Won[12]
2008 Webby Award International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences "From Russia With Hate" Drama: Individual Episode Won[13]
Emmy Award National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences "From Russia with Hate" Best New Approach: Documentary Nominated
"Mogadishu Madness" Best New Approach: Current News Coverage Nominated
National Headliner Award Press Club of Atlantic City "From Russia With Hate" First Place: Investigative Reporting Won[14]
2007 Livingston Award for Young Journalists Mollie Parnis Livingston Foundation "From Russia With Hate" Best International Reporting Won[15]
2006 CINE Golden Eagle CINE "Party and Play" Award of Excellence Won[16]
2003 Best Short Film New York AIDS Film Festival "Left Behind" Won
Audience Impact Award AFI/Silverdocs "Left Behind" Runner Up
HBO Films Award Savannah International Film Festival "Left Behind" Best International Student Film Won[17]
Student Emmy Academy of Television Arts and Sciences "Left Behind" 1st Place Documentary Won[18]
Student Academy Awards Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences "Left Behind" Best Documentary Won[19]
2002 Angelus Award Angelus Student Film Festival "Left Behind" Most Outstanding Nonfiction Film Won
Silver Chris Award Columbus International Film & Video Festival "Left Behind" Best Student Film Won[20]
David L. Wolper/IDA Award International Documentary Association "Left Behind" Best Student Documentary Won[21]

See also[edit]

Adam Yamaguchi

Al Jazeera America

Current TV

Mariana van Zeller



  1. ^ "Vanguard Correspondents". Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ "Christof Putzel's Bio". Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ "A Battle for Indonesia's Hearts and Lungs". 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-23. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  6. ^ "Samuel G. Blackman; News Executive, 90". The New York Times. 1995-10-08. 
  7. ^ "Julia Taft, Christof Putzel". The New York Times. 2007-06-03. 
  8. ^ "duPont Award Winners 2013". 
  10. ^ "PRISM Awards honors those telling accurate stories of addiction, recovery". Retrieved 2012-04-24. 
  11. ^ "Emmy nominations 2012". 
  12. ^ "duPont Award Winners 2009". Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  13. ^ "Winners 2008". Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  14. ^ "Winners 2008". Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  15. ^ "2007 Winners". Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  16. ^ "2006 CINE Winner Directory" (PDF). Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  17. ^ "Awards and Screenings". Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  18. ^ "Awards and Screenings". Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  19. ^ "Awards and Screenings". Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  20. ^ "Awards and Screenings". Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  21. ^ "Awards and Screenings". Retrieved 08/09/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)