WTVF NewsChannel 5 wins 2015 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism
Tue, April 21, 2015 by Carolyn Micheli
CINCINNATI— WTVF NewsChannel 5, the Nashville, Tennessee, television station of The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP), is the recipient of the 2015 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism, a national award bestowed by the Sidney Hillman Foundation. The honor recognizes the CBS affiliate’s investigation, Policing for Profit.
The NewsChannel 5 Investigates team spent four years following the actions of Tennessee law enforcement agencies to reveal unethical police practices and civil rights violations. In a one-hour primetime special, WTVF documented a pattern of practice in which law enforcement officers confiscated cash from individuals during traffic stops along suspected highway drug trade routes without charging them with a crime. That money was then used to fund the operations of those agencies. The ongoing investigation fueled a national conversation about civil forfeiture laws that make those practices legal and led to reforms in Tennessee and across the country.
“WTVF has an outstanding reputation and a proven track record for high impact investigations,” said Rich Boehne, chairman, president and CEO of Scripps. “The station joined Scripps April 1, and we will continue to support the team’s efforts and strongly encourage this type of enterprise reporting.”
Chief investigative reporter Phil Williams, investigative photojournalist Bryan Staples and executive producer Kevin Wisniewski turned a tip from a member of the law enforcement community into an exhaustive review of police videos and public records. The team interviewed people from across the country for elements of the investigation.
“The NewsChannel 5 Investigates team showed dogged determination to uncover these abuses of power,” said Debbie Turner, vice president of TV operations for Scripps. “The station committed resources to broaden the story beyond the local impact. The Hillman Prize is especially fitting for this effort because the awards program aims to support investigative reporting and deep storytelling in service of the common good.”
The investigation resulted in legislative action to protect innocent victims and to clarify Tennessee law so that couriers could be prosecuted for money laundering when hauling drug money.
Since 1950, the Hillman Prize program has honored contributors to the daily, periodical, and labor press, as well as authors and broadcasters. Winners will be recognized at an event in New York City on May 5. It is named for Sidney Hillman, the first president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America union. Hillman devoted his life to the labor movement and service to the community as a whole.
The E.W. Scripps Company serves audiences and businesses through a growing portfolio of television, radio and digital media brands. Scripps is one of the nation’s largest independent TV station owners, with 33 television stations in 24 markets and a reach of nearly one in five U.S. households. It also owns 34 radio stations in eight markets. When Scripps and the former Journal Communications merged their broadcast assets in early 2015, they also spun off their respective newspapers, creating a new public company, Journal Media Group. Scripps also runs an expanding collection of local and national digital journalism and information businesses, including mobile video news service Newsy and weather app developer WeatherSphere. Scripps also produces television shows including The List and The Now, runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and serves as the long-time steward of the nation’s largest, most successful and longest-running educational program, the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”
Investor contact: Carolyn Micheli, The E.W. Scripps Company, 513-977-3732, email@example.com
Media contact: Valerie Miller, The E.W. Scripps Company, 513-977-3023, firstname.lastname@example.org