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October 20, 2023
Local TV and radio stations' investigative news units uncover government corruption, question those in power and ensure consumers have a powerful voice. This valuable investigative work improves the quality of lives in our communities and provides viewers and listeners with the information they need to be informed citizens.
In September, Cox Media Group (CMG)-owned WSOC-TV 9 reported an update to a long-running collaboration by the investigative teams of CMG's TV stations. The story involved MV Realty, a Florida-based company that offered quick cash to unsuspecting homeowners across the country in exchange for a contract ensuring homeowners would use the company as their realtor if they later decided to sell their house. Many failed to realize the contract was secured with a 40-year lien on their home. Now under investigation, the company recently filed for bankruptcy. A new reporting model implemented by CMG earlier this year enabled reporters across the country to work together to uncover the larger scope of the issue, even beyond their own markets.
Washington, D.C.-based news radio station WTOP, owned by Hubbard Media, partners with local nonprofit, nonpartisan news site Maryland Matters to bring in-depth reporting on local issues to the forefront. A piece from this month looked at causes of poor air quality, especially for Maryland’s urban residents and people of color.
After a recent incident where a drone was spotted over a college football game, NBC News ran an in-depth report on potential dangers of small, off-the-shelf drones to stadium events, as well as the regulatory hurdles that prevent sports leagues and other events organizers from combating this threat. They report that of 121,000 drone mitigation requests since 2018, the FBI and DHS have been able to approve 77.
An in-depth investigation from TEGNA's KHOU 11 in Houston, Texas, explored the hiring practices of the police department of a small Texas town. Coffee City has about 250 residents and 50 sworn police officers, many of whom were "suspended, demoted, terminated or dishonorably discharged from their previous law enforcement jobs," according to the station.
Nexstar Media Group's WPRI 12 in Providence, R.I., aired an in-depth investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior by a congressional candidate while teaching at a local college. The candidate, Don Carlson, eventually suspended his campaign. "Target 12 revealed last week that Williams officials had told Carlson in 2019 he couldn't return to teach there in the future after he broached a romantic relationship with a student in a text message that referenced a website used by people who pay to go on dates," the station reports. "Before the initial report aired, Carlson and his representatives spent a week trying to kill the story behind the scenes, then denied its accuracy until a second report aired Thursday with more details."
Scripps Local Media's News Channel 5 in Nashville, Tenn., investigated a local mayoral candidate's social media campaign to discover photos that appeared to be lifted from social media posts, falsely claiming individuals as her supporters. The station said she, "may not have thought that anyone would track down the women whose photos she posted last month on her campaign's social media accounts. But that's exactly what NewsChannel 5 Investigates did over the weekend, and those women were outraged about how their images were used."
Longtime investigative journalist Jayne Miller, who worked at Hearst Television's WBAL-TV for more than 35 years, now hosts a weekly talk show and podcast on WBAL News Radio to provide in-depth perspectives on the news. Recent topics include the Israel-Palestine conflict, contamination of city water and youth violence, parole and probation.
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.