March 24, 2003
KHOU wins Investigative Reporters and Editors Certificate
Houston,TX -- KHOU-TV, Channel 11 has been awarded the national Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Certificate. The 11 News Defenders won the award for its ongoing investigative series about the Houston Police Department crime, "Evidence of Errors."
This is the second time the 11 News Defenders Investigative Team of Investigative Reporter Anna Werner, Investigative Producer David Raziq and Investigative Photojournalist Chris Henao has won the award. They first won in 2000 for for their investigation of Firestone tires.
The current series started in November of 2002 and documented serious errors by HPD's crime lab. It eventually halted DNA testing at the lab and caused the Harris County District Attorney to begin reviewing the test results in hundreds of current and past criminal cases. That office has now selected more than 50 cases for retesting because of what they are calling, "unreliable" lab work. In addition, the series has also helped free one man. 21-year old Josiah Sutton was only 16 when he was accused of rape and the lab's DNA tests indicated he was guilty. Sutton was serving a 25-year prison sentence when KHOU's Defenders began to question testing in his case. As a result, the DNA evidence from the crime was retested by authorities and the new results eliminated Sutton as a suspect. He is now free on bail pending a possible pardon from the governor of Texas.
The judges recognized the 11 News Defenders and their reports, saying "This investigation was extraordinary and demonstrates a television station's commitment to doing serious work."
The awards will be presented on June 7th at the IRE National Conference in Washington D.C. KHOU's Defenders is a past IRE recipient for its investigation into problems with Firestone tires, which led to the largest-ever tire recall in U.S. History.
KHOU-TV is a subsidiary of Belo. 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.