April 2, 2009
WCNC-TV Wins Award for Investigation of Local United Way
Charlotte, North Carolina - The Press Club of Atlantic City, New Jersey honored investigative reporter Stuart Watson and the I-Team of NewsChannel 36 with a first place National Headliner Award in the Public Service category for local television.
The award recognized NewsChannel 36 for breaking the story in 2008 about the local United Way CEO who crafted a multi-million dollar retirement plan for herself, then gained approval of the plan by the organization's inattentive board over which she held inordinate control. To put that payment in context --- the local United Way approved a pension plan for its CEO that represented the combined donations of entire towns.
A series of more than two dozen reports -- over the course of six months -- included information from annual reports, IRS tax forms and salary surveys to document the pension and benefit payments. Board members, agency heads and national watchdog groups were consulted for perspective.
Joint reporting by NewsChannel 36 and its partners at the Charlotte Observer newspaper helped generate a firestorm of public criticism by donors via e-mails, letters and calls.
Ultimately, the United Way board fired the CEO and instituted new procedures to promote transparency in the organization's operations.
"These investigative reports were a genuine public service, forcing a leading charity to be accountable to the donating public and to change the way it spends millions of charitable dollars," said Tim Morrissey, President and General Manager of WCNC.
The Press Club of Atlantic City established the National Headliner Awards program in 1934 to recognize journalistic merit in the communications industry. Over the years, outstanding writers, photographers, daily newspapers, magazines, graphic artists, radio and television stations and networks, and news syndicates have been honored with more than 2000 Headliner medallions.
WCNC-TV is owned by Belo Corp. (BLC), one of the nation's largest pure-play, publicly-traded television companies, with 2008 annual revenue of $733 million. The Company owns and operates 20 television stations (nine in the top 25 markets) and their associated Web sites. Belo stations, which include affiliations with ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW and MyNetwork TV, reach more than 14 percent of U.S. television households in 15 highly-attractive markets. Nearly all Belo stations rank first or second in their local market. Additional information is available at www.belo.com or by contacting Paul Fry, vice president/Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, at 214-977-6835.