The Tunnel earned three Emmy Awards in 1963. It was the only documentary to receive the award as The Program of the Year. It was also honored for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Documentary (awarded to Frank) and Outstanding Achievement in International Reporting (awarded to Anderton).
An internal memo issued by Frank to the crew working on the documentary included the following outline of the goals of television news production:
Every news story should, without sacrifice of probity and responsibility, display the attributes of fiction, of drama. It should have structure and conflict, problem and denouement, rising and falling action, a beginning, a middle, and an end. These are not only the essentials of drama; they are the essentials of narrative. We are in the business of narrative because we are in the business of communication.