April 2, 2008

WFAA-TV/DT News Department Awarded Prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for Series of Station Investigations

Award Represents The Third Time in Five Years News 8 Has Been Honored With Peabody Awards

DALLAS, TX -- WFAA's News 8 Investigates team has been awarded the George Foster Peabody Award for a series of stories broadcast in 2007.

"Generally news organizations are honored with Peabody Awards for single stories," said Michael Valentine, WFAA executive news director, "so the fact that this award represents a series of News 8 Investigates pieces makes the recognition unique, and particularly gratifying."

The Henry Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia presents the George Foster Peabody Award each year. This Peabody marks the sixth time WFAA has been recognized with such an award, and the third time in the past five years. This year's honorees include Valentine, reporters Brett Shipp and Byron Harris, producer Mark Smith and photographer-editor Kraig Kirchem. All of these WFAA journalists are multiple Peabody Award winners.

WFAA's most recent Peabody Award recognizes four entries from the station's highly successful, and industry-decorated investigative unit:

"Money for Nothing," a series of reports by Byron Harris on the US Export-Import Bank and millions of dollars in questionable loans, some involving alleged Mexican drug cartel-connected businesses.

"Kinder Prison," a series of Brett Shipp reports on US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of detaining children and even infants in deplorable conditions while their families awaited possible deportation.

"Television Justice," Byron Harris' reports on NBC Dateline and the Murphy, Texas police department's faulty practices connected to a sting targeting alleged sexual predators in an effort to accommodate a network primetime television show.

"The Buried and the Dead," Brett Shipp's reports on Texas regulators and charges that potentially faulty gas equipment under tens of thousands of Texas homes remained in use for decades, despite multiple deaths.

"Television Justice" was also honored earlier in the year with an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, broadcast journalism's equivalent of print's famed Pulitzer Prize, the ninth such award for WFAA. Additionally, the prestigious Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) recently honored "The Buried and the Dead" as a 2007 broadcast award winner.

"Investigative journalism is an important part of the service WFAA provides our viewers," said the station's president and general manager, Mike Devlin. "We are proud of these stories, as well as the journalists that produced them, and are grateful to be recognized again with such a prestigious honor."