December 9, 2003
KHOU-TV wins DuPont-Columbia Award
Houston, TX -- KHOU-TV Channel 11 has been awarded the prestigious Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for a series of reports which exposed errors at the Houston Police Department Crime Lab.
The 11News Defenders Investigative team won the national award for its groundbreaking series, "Evidence of Errors" broadcast in November of 2002. The investigation and subsequent news reports exposed shoddy work at Houston's Crime Lab and were instrumental in freeing a prisoner who was incarcerated on erroneous DNA evidence.
The reports, by investigative reporter Anna Werner, investigative producer David Raziq and investigative photojournalist Chris Henao reviewed a number of criminal cases from the crime lab and questioned whether innocent people may have been imprisoned or the guilty set free. KHOU enlisted the help of nationally known forensic scientists and experts to review their findings. Those experts found and KHOU reported that the lab had made errors that showed "repeated gross incompetence."
DuPont-Columbia judges said of KHOU-TV's investigation, "These reports led to an independent audit of the crime lab, the release of several defendants, and the overturning of convictions that were based on the lab's bad evidence. This is broadcast journalism that makes a difference in people's lives, and it has spurred nationwide attention to crime lab practices."
"Broadcast news organizations often work for years and never achieve this level of recognition for their efforts, says Mike Devlin, KHOU-TV Vice President and News Director. "This Defenders team has won two duPont-Columbia Awards. I am proud of the team and the work they do to research, report and uncover issues that need to be addressed in our community."
KHOU's Defenders investigative team won a duPont-Columbia Award in 2001 for their reports of Firestone tires that led to a national recall of more than six million tires.
The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards honor overall excellence in broadcast journalism. The duPont Awards, established in 1942 and administered since 1968 by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, are considered the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes, which the Journalism School also administers. The duPont-Columbia will be given to KHOU-TV in a ceremony at Columbia University in January.
CONTACT: Wendy Burkeen, APR
Amy Petty 713-284-8761
KHOU-TV is part of Belo Corp. (NYSE:BLC). Belo 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. Based in Dallas, Belo owns 19 television stations (six in the top 16 markets) reaching 13.7 percent of U.S. television households; owns or operates nine 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.