March 7, 2003
KHOU-TV wins National Journalism Award
Houston, TX -- KHOU-TV Channel 11 has won a national journalism award from the Scripps Howard Foundation for a series of investigative reports concerning the Houston Police Department crime lab.
The 11News Defenders Investigative Team of Investigative Reporter Anna Werner, Investigative Producer David Raziq and Investigative Photojournalist Chris Henao won the award for their six-part November 2002 series, "Evidence of Errors." The series documented serious errors by a Houston crime lab and the effect the errors had on the outcomes of local criminal cases.
The award is one of only two television awards and the only one given to a large market television station. Judges said of the 11News Defenders reports, "The investigation was thorough, the sources were on the record and the results were impressive."
Questions raised in the KHOU investigation and a subsequent police audit prompted the Harris County District Attorney's office to retest DNA evidence in hundreds of current and past criminal cases. The Houston Police department subsequently halted all DNA testing in its crime lab. In addition, the General Investigative Committee of the Texas House of Representatives held hearings as a result of KHOU's series of reports. Several representatives are considering legislation that would establish new standards for Texas crime labs.
"This is the kind of work that most TV stations shy away from," says Mike Devlin, KHOU-TV Vice President and News Director.
"This is high level work that's intellectually challenging and time consuming. Our team of investigative journalists do the hard work that makes a difference and I'm proud of their efforts on behalf of our station and our viewers."
"The National Journalism Awards were established to remind us each year that journalists, when true to their calling, make a profound difference in the world in which they live," according to Judith G. Clabes, president and chief executive officer of the Scripps Howard Foundation.
KHOU is a past Scripps Howard National Journalism Award winner. The Defenders won an award in 2001 for an investigation into problems with Firestone tires. That investigative series led to the largest-ever tire recall in U.S. history.
KHOU is a Belo subsidiary. Belo Corp. is one of the nation's largest media companies with a diversified group of market-leading television, newspaper, cable and interactive media assets. A Fortune 1000 company with approximately 7,800 employees and $1.4 billion in annual revenues, Belo operates news and information franchises in some of America's most dynamic markets and regions, including Texas, the Northwest, the Southwest, Rhode Island, and the Mid-Atlantic region. Belo owns 19 television stations (six in the top 16 markets) reaching 13.7 percent of U.S. television households; owns or operates six cable news channels; and manages one television station through a local marketing agreement. Belo publishes four daily newspapers: The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) and the Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, TX). Belo Interactive's new media businesses include 34 Web sites, several interactive alliances, and a broad range of Internet-based products. Additional information, including earnings releases, is available online at www.belo.com.