December 2, 2004
WFAA-TV and its 'News 8 Investigates' team wins second duPont award in three years
Dallas, TX -- WFAA-TV has been awarded the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton -- the station's eighth such honor -- for an eight-month investigation of how insurance companies denied medical claims for work-related injuries.
News 8 Investigates reporter Brett Shipp, producer Mark Smith, photographer/editor Kraig Kirchem, executive producer Nann Goplerud and vice president/News David Duitch were named as recipients of the station's second duPont Award in the past three years. Shipp, Smith, Kirchem and Duitch were honored with a duPont in 2003 for "Fake Drugs, Real Lives," a series of reports involving Dallas police and fake drugs used to entrap innocent victims.
"These journalists continue to make a difference in the lives of the citizens of Texas," said Kathy Clements, WFAA president and general manager. "We could not be more proud of their efforts."
In announcing WFAA's award in a press release on December 1, the duPont judges said, "The investigation of workmen's compensation insurance and the Texas Workmen's Compensation Commission uncovered the systematic denial of basic medical benefits for injured workers to bolster the profits of insurance companies. The news team exposed faulty peer reviews, failure to reimburse doctors, a suspicious grant to state regulators, and widespread denial of claims by injured workers even after treatment was authorized."
Duitch called the award a "significant journalistic achievement for WFAA," and said he was proud of the entire staff.
"Investigative journalism is at the very foundation of what News 8 delivers," said Duitch, "and the fact that a distinguished panel of duPont judges has honored the station twice over a three-year period is a gratifying, albeit humbling experience. I salute the men and women of our news staff for their dedication to the kind of journalism that touches lives and makes a difference in the community we serve."
Shipp joins fellow News 8 Investigates reporter Byron Harris as a two-time, WFAA duPont recipient. Harris was honored with a duPont Award in 1976 for "Clear and Present Danger," a series on environmental hazards, and again in 1989 for "Other People's Money," an investigation of the crisis in the savings and loan industry.
"WFAA is one of the few television news station in America with two such reporters on the street each day," said Duitch.
WFAA-TV is part 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 7,600 employees and $1.4 billion in annual revenues, Belo operates media franchises in some of America's most dynamic markets and regions, including Texas, the Northwest, the Southwest, Rhode Island, and the Mid-Atlantic. Belo owns 19 television stations (six in the top 15 markets); owns or operates seven cable news channels; and manages one television station through a local marketing agreement. Belo's daily newspapers are The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) and the Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, TX). Belo operates more than 30 Web sites, several interactive alliances and a broad range of Internet-based products. Additional information, including earnings releases and corporate communications, is available online at www.belo.com. For more information contact David Muscari, vice president/strategic alliances at 214.977.6490.