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Broadcasters Provide Award-Winning Investigative Journalism

Broadcasters Provide Award-Winning Investigative Journalism

June 6, 2024

With local journalism in high demand across the country, broadcasters' award-winning investigative news units uncover government corruption, question those in power and expose those who abuse their positions. The investigations highlighted below have uncovered problems and proposed solutions, led to increased oversight and been honored for their incisive, high-quality journalism.

Cox Media Group and KFF Health News Finalists for Pulitzer Prize

KFF Health News and Cox Media Group were finalists for this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for their investigation in Social Security overpayments. They also received a 2024 Goldsmith Award from The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School for their joint reporting. The series "Overpayment Outrage" exposed how the Social Security Administration (SSA) routinely sent overpayments to recipients that the SSA then clawed back by reducing or suspending monthly checks.

"We’re honored to receive this prestigious award because it reflects CMG’s commitment to local news and investigative journalism," says Marian Pittman, president of content, Cox Media Group, after receiving the Goldsmith Award. "The team’s relentless efforts to uncover the truth behind complex government policies and their implementation has resulted in tangible changes within the SSA and will directly benefit millions of people impacted by overpayments."

Edward R. Murrow Awards

The Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio and Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) "recognize local and national news stories that uphold the RTDNA Code of Ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance and impact of journalism as a service to the community." Hundreds of regional winners from across the country were announced this May. Explore some of this impactful work.

Atlanta Station Investigates Racial Profiling at Airport Gates

Gray Television’s Atlanta News First was honored for their ANF Investigates series "In Plane Sight," which looked at racial profiling by plainclothes drug officers at airport gates. "Our ongoing investigation revealed that passengers selected for what the government calls ‘random, consensual encounters’ are actually profiled by the drug agents who search Black men far more often than any other group of passengers," the station revealed. The station was also presented with the NAB Leadership Foundation’s Service to Community Award last week in recognition of its outstanding investigative reporting.

Minnesota Passes Reforms After KARE Investigation

TEGNA station KARE 11 in Minneapolis, Minn., conducted a year-long investigation into cases where criminal defendants found too mentally ill to stand trial, called gap cases, were released back to the community and went on to commit violent crimes. Inspired by the investigation, state lawmakers passed sweeping reforms to close this gap between the state’s mental health and criminal justice systems.

NBC Bay Area Investigation Wins Multiple Awards

"911: Hanging on the Line" from NBC owned-and-operated station NBC Bay Area in San Francisco, Calif., examined the harrowing experience of an Oakland police officer facing a life-threatening situation due to failed 911 connections. The investigation discovered Oakland had California's poorest 911 response time out of any city or county, often resulting in callers encountering busy signals. This reporting helped prompt a $2.5 million investment by the City of Oakland and the Oakland Police Department to address flaws in the city’s emergency response. It was honored with the Hillman Prize for Journalism from the Sidney Hillman Foundation as well as the regional Murrow award.

Salt Lake City Stations Investigate Book Challenges

Bonneville stations KSL TV and KSL Newsradio in Salt Lake City, Utah, conducted a joint investigation into book challenges received by the area’s school districts. "After Davis revealed it had received book challenges to both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and after one of the bill’s sponsors said publicly that the law was being used in ways he did not intend, KSL requested the policy each district in the state is following," the stations explained. "KSL also requested a full accounting of how many challenges to individual books each district has received, reviewed and decided upon." The investigation breaks down these numbers and provides insight from librarians and school officials.

Los Angeles Station Investigates Multiple Sides of Education Conflicts

"He Said, She Said, They Said…" from the award-winning news team at iHeartRadio’s KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles, Calif., "addresses the conflict between schools and parents over the ongoing introduction of books, curricula, and instruction about alternative lifestyles." Guests included educators, parents and advocates, featuring multiple sides of the issue in a special and an additional podcast with extended content.

Baltimore Station Holds Safe Street Program Accountable

Baltimore's Fox 45 News, owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, has conducted a years-long investigation into the city’s Safe Streets program, raising concerns about the program’s effectiveness, transparency and accountability. "The upper management is failing them and that’s what I’m here talking about," a former employee told the station in a recent report. "The potential is phenomenal."

Santa Fe Station Investigates DWI Prosecutions

In a nine-month investigation, KRQE News in Santa Fe, N.M., uncovered hundreds of unprosecuted DWI cases in the Santa Fe County district attorney’s office. A routine remedy to avoid certain court-imposed deadlines has resulted in "a public safety fiasco," according to the station, where cases go years without being filed, in some cases leading to repeat offenses.

Montana Station Investigates State Malpractice Laws

In a five-part series, Scripps Local Media station KTVQ in Billings, Mont., explores the state’s cap on awards in malpractice lawsuits through the story of a man waiting on a judge’s decision on whether to cap the $6 million awarded him by the jury to $250,000 according to the state’s law. Experts question whether the state law is constitutional, as it invalidates jury decisions.

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