January 13, 2005
Two Belo television stations are the only local stations nationwide to win 2005 duPont-Columbia Awards
Dallas, TX -- WFAA-TV (ABC) in Dallas/Fort Worth and WCNC-TV (NBC) in Charlotte, both owned by Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC), will be the only two local commercial television stations in the nation to receive a prestigious Silver Baton Award for broadcast journalism when the 2005 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards are presented in a ceremony at Columbia University today. A total of thirteen winners, including NBC, ABC, National Public Radio, HBO/Cinemax and Boston's public television station, WGBH-TV, in addition to the Belo stations, were chosen from 588 entries.
WFAA recipients of the 2005 duPont-Columbia award are investigative reporter Brett Shipp, photographer and editor Kraig Kirchem, investigative producer Mark Smith and executive producer of special projects Nann Goplerud. The 2005 duPont Award is WFAA's eighth and one of numerous other coveted journalism awards the station has won, including four George Foster Peabody Awards and seven national RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Awards.
Recipients of WCNC's 2005 duPont-Columbia Award are investigative reporter Stuart Watson, photojournalist and editor Stephanie Johnson, investigative producer Rick Yarborough, special projects manager Mary Alvarez and news director Keith Connors. Since the investigation aired, Alvarez has been promoted to assistant news director. The "Medicaid Dental Centers Investigation" also won a 2003 Peabody Award.
"We are very proud that the outstanding work of WFAA and WCNC is being recognized in such a significant way," said Jack Sander, president/Media Operations. "Belo is fortunate to be able to attract and retain talented individuals like the ones that produced these award-winning reports."
Sander continued, "These two stations are representative of the focus on journalistic excellence that exists at all Belo television stations. Providing the highest-quality journalism is what Belo television stations strive to do every day in every market."
WFAA's "State of Denial" investigation into workman's compensation insurance and the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission uncovered the systematic denial of basic medical benefits for injured workers. The seasoned News 8 Investigates journalists uncovered 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. The head of the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission was forced to step down after the investigation aired.
WCNC's "Medicaid Dental Centers Investigation" uncovered unnecessary treatments for children at dental clinics where dentists were paid monthly bonuses based on how much they
billed Medicaid. The investigation started with a cry for help from a single mother on Medicaid. At her son's first dental visit, dentists separated the four-year-old boy from his mother for hours, restrained him and drilled 16 of his baby teeth at once as his mother paced the waiting room, demanding to see him.
After the investigation aired, a North Carolina state senator, himself a dentist, called on the state dental board to investigate the investigation's findings and the FBI launched its own probe. North Carolina and Colorado now limit the dental work in one sitting for which Medicaid will pay.
Indicative of Belo's focus on journalistic excellence, Belo television stations and executives have won many national journalism awards since 2000, including five duPont Awards, nine national Murrow Awards and five Peabody Awards.
The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards honoring overall excellence in broadcast journalism were established in 1942 by Jessie Ball duPont in memory of her late husband, Alfred I. duPont. The duPont Awards, 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.