March 17, 2003
WFAA-TV honored for Station's Outstanding Political Coverage with 2003 Walter Cronkite Award
Seattle, WA -- WFAA-TV has been honored with the prestigious USC Annenberg Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism. The Dallas-Fort Worth, ABC affiliate shares the honor with KING-TV, WFAA's sister station located in Seattle. This is the second USC Annenberg Walter Cronkite Award to be given to KING, which won the award in 2001. Dallas-based Belo Corp. owns both stations.
"The political process is important to our viewers," said David Duitch, WFAA vice president/News. "Everyone covers campaign appearances by the candidates when they are in your market. We chose to dig deeper focusing on the many issues that impact our viewers and hearing what the candidates said on the issues, not just in north Texas but throughout the state."
Judges praised WFAA for its creative collaboration with other Belo stations in its coverage of Texas electoral contests. For "Project Texas," WFAA collaborated with the other Belo stations in the state (KENS, KVUE, KHOU and Texas Cable News) to identify and report on some of the state's most critical issues including health and education.
The judges also noted the WFAA's "unique storytelling techniques" and strong reporting efforts in segments including: "Dinner with the Candidates," where two major party candidates sat down for a home-cooked meal and questions from a north Texas family; a weekly "Ad Watch" series of reports on political advertising; "Debate Watch," regular segments checking the accuracy of statements made during debates; and "College Voters," a report revealing a lack of interest and knowledge about the campaign on a college campus.
"Viewers told us they really appreciated the many ad watch segments we aired," commented Duitch, "where we dissected campaign commercials to say what was true, what was false, and what was misleading."
The University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, the Norman Lear Center and Reliable Resources for Broadcast Political Coverage honor television networks, local television stations and individuals for political coverage that informed viewers about their electoral choices, and that helped them understand ballot issues, the candidates involved, and how electoral choices will affect their lives. The Award is named for legendary CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, the most decorated broadcast journalist of the past thirty years. It is designed to encourage, and showcase television journalistic excellence in political coverage, particularly innovative, issue-focused coverage that informs viewers about their electoral choices.
The Awards will be presented at a ceremony in Las Vegas on April 8, 2003, during RTNDA@NAB, a conference and exhibition for radio and television news.
WFAA-TV is a subsidiary of Belo Corp., 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. For more information, contact David F. Muscari, vice president/Strategic Alliances, at (214) 977-6490. Additional information, including earnings releases, is available online at www.belo.com.