In times of crisis, Americans turn to their local radio and television stations for the most trusted news to stay safe and informed. America’s broadcasters have been at their best during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing fact-based journalism, breaking news, vaccine education and supporting local businesses.
Here are examples of how local stations are supporting their communities during this critical time.
On May 6, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced the regional winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards, recognizing outstanding journalism from hundreds of local television and radio stations across the country during an unprecedented year. Below are a few examples of the winners in Investigative Reporting from broadcasters who are dedicated to bringing context and clarity to the stories that matter to their communities. A full list of regional winners is available here.
Gray Television’s CBS affiliate KGMB and NBC affiliate KHNL share a news department, Hawaii News Now, and won their award for investigating a local doctor’s suspicion that prescription marijuana vape cartridges sold in Oahu’s government-regulated dispensaries were not safe. The report revealed dangerously high levels of ethanol in the cartridges.
News-Press & Gazette Company’s ABC affiliate KRDO-TV was awarded for their lengthy investigation into shutting down illicit massage parlors tied to prostitution and human trafficking in the Colorado Springs area.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting earned their Investigative Reporting award for reporting on the issue of fireworks at Mount Rushmore, detailing the history of displays, fire risks, water pollution and other environmental concerns.
Hearst Television’s ABC affiliate WCVB-TV won their award for a series of reports regarding a history of negligence and bad decisions that lead to dozens of deaths at a long-term care facility for veterans, particularly at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nexstar Media Group’s NBC/Telemundo affiliate KSNW-TV was awarded for their reporting on the dangers of X-Lite guardrails and exploring why they are still installed on some Kansas roads despite the decision by the Kansas Department of Transportation to discontinue their use in new projects in 2017.
TEGNA’s NBC affiliate KING-TV earned their Investigative Reporting award for reporting on an undetected mold problem in the air handling system in some of the operating rooms at Seattle Children’s Hospital that led to several infections and deaths, and the station’s legal fight to release public health records.
New Hampshire Public Radio won their award for exposing over 80 legal settlements agreed to by municipalities in New Hampshire following allegations of civil rights violations by police officers since 2010. These settlements were shielded from public scrutiny and cost taxpayers more than $4.35 million.
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s ABC/Fox affiliate WTVC was awarded for their series investigating a near-fatal incident at a motorcar festival when a motorcar crashed into an orange traffic barrier that was not filled with water, causing it to go airborne and striking people working on the course. The station investigated the improper use of this barrier and what the city of Chattanooga is planning to do to regulate these types of events.
The E.W. Scripps Company’s ABC/CW affiliate KATC earned their award for reporting on the issue of Louisiana coroners signing cremation permits for deaths that have been listed as homicides, which is against the law and destroys the most crucial piece of evidence of the crime, denying families justice for their loved ones.
Cox Media Group’s NBC affiliate WPXI won their award for their investigation into local nursing homes’ practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the level of patient care due to staff shortages and the disturbing practice of putting healthy residents in the same rooms with residents who tested positive for COVID-19.
Quincy Media’s NBC/CW affiliate WREX was awarded for reporting on accusations of systemic abuse of power, police misconduct and excessive force at a local police department, particularly involving complaints against specific officers and the lack of discipline even after complaints and lawsuits.
More than 2.47 million American jobs depend on broadcasting, and the local broadcast radio and television industry - and the businesses that depend on it - generate $1.17 trillion annually for the nation's economy.