CINCINNATI — For extensive political coverage coordinated across its television station group, national news bureaus and digital news brands, and for its commitment to fact-checking political advertising, The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) has received three Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.
The Norman Lear Center today announced 12 winners for its biennial awards, of which Scripps received three:
Group category — With journalists serving communities across the country and television stations located in key battleground states, Scripps was well-positioned as it produced more original political reporting than at any other time during the company’s history. In the five weeks leading up to Election Day, Scripps committed 100 minutes each week of political coverage in each of its 24 markets. Local broadcast stations, national bureaus in Washington, D.C., and Denver, and Newsy, Scripps’ national video news network, worked together to educate and inform Americans living in Scripps markets and beyond.
Scripps journalists covered local candidates and issues as well as races for state and federal offices. The Scripps Washington Bureau covered the national political scene and shared those insights with Scripps stations. The Denver bureau produced “The Race,” a weekly show that featured interviews with political experts and politicians in the nation’s capital talking about the biggest topics on voters’ minds. Newsy reported on the people, places and stories that did not get much attention during the campaign season with “Off the Trail.” Newsy also created “Check 2016,” an interactive fact-checker that provided context and translation for the presidential election.
The Brooks Jackson Prize for Fact Checking Political Advertising — Coverage of the 2016 election began in the summer of 2015 through an ambitious partnership with PolitiFact, the nation’s leading political fact-checking organization. Scripps invested in fact checking at the national and local levels. During each presidential debate, a team at Scripps worked with PolitiFact to produce more than 70 fact-check stories for broadcast across all markets and for Scripps websites and news apps.
In addition to the use of PolitiFact’s “Truth-O-Meter” to create a rating scale on candidate statements or ads, Scripps established PolitiFact bureaus inside certain newsrooms in key states. Those fact checkers worked with content teams to produce compelling, in-depth fact checks of local, state and federal candidates for sharing on all Scripps platforms.
This award, named for Brooks Jackson, the founding director of FactCheck.org, recognizes TV journalists’ best practices in reducing the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. Scripps was recognized for its companywide effort.
Special Commendation for Local Investigative Journalism — Scripps-owned KMGH in Denver also received a Walter Cronkite Award for its coverage of a signature forgery scandal involving a U.S. Senate race. The judges commented the coverage went above and beyond what they have seen in investigative journalism.
“Early in the 2016 election season, Scripps launched a strategy for serving our audiences locally and nationwide with dedicated coverage aimed at shedding light through the impending storm of political campaign messaging,” said Rich Boehne, chairman, president and CEO of Scripps. “As a company, we were driven to help our audiences navigate murky waters and make informed voting decisions. We take very seriously our role as journalists to create a better-informed world and to hold our elected leaders accountable.”
The Walter Cronkite Awards recognize television journalism that helps citizens understand who the candidates are; what the issues and ballot propositions are; how electoral choices will affect their lives; how to assess campaign information, including advertising; and how to register, vote and make their own voices heard.
University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism faculty, staff and alumni screened the entries and forwarded their evaluations to a panel of journalism professionals and scholars. That panel made the final decisions.
Scripps will accept the awards on Friday, April 28, in Washington, D.C.
The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) 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. Scripps also runs an expanding collection of local and national digital journalism and information businesses, including multi-platform satire and humor brand Cracked, podcast industry leader Midroll Media and over-the-top video news service Newsy. 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 longtime 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.”
Valerie Miller, The E.W. Scripps Company, 513-977-3023, Valerie.firstname.lastname@example.org