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KNXV wins prestigious duPont-Columbia Award for pair of investigations on police misconduct in Phoenix

Feb. 9, 2022 By Michael Perry

CINCINNATI – For its commitment to shedding light on the systemic misconduct within the Phoenix justice system, KNXV, a local television station owned by The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP), has won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

KNXV reporter Dave Biscobing and the ABC15 Investigators received the prestigious honor for two investigative series on the Phoenix police and prosecutorial system: “Full Disclosure” and “Politically Charged.” Together, the investigations make up a collection of nearly 100 reports and three documentary specials that have had widespread impact for Arizona citizens. Further, when the city of Phoenix tried to subpoena KNXV’s raw materials for these stories, the station fought back and won in federal court.

The duPont award committee commended the ABC15 Investigators: “Reporter Dave Biscobing’s investigations of the Phoenix Police Department relentlessly connected the dots to depict a police force operating like a police state, simmering with racist and political resentment and rife with malfeasance.”

Through “Politically Charged,” which aired in 2021, KNXV exposed tactics by the Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Attorney’s office to target and frame demonstrators exercising their First Amendment rights during protests following George Floyd’s murder in May 2020. The team’s reporting led to the dismissal of every felony protester arrest – 39 in total – brought by the Phoenix Police Department. It also triggered a Department of Justice investigation into the pattern of policing practices in Phoenix.

KNXV’s 2020 “Full Disclosure” investigation exposed widespread and systemic problems with Arizona’s so-called “Brady” lists, which are supposed to track police officers in the state with documented histories of dishonesty, false arrests, crimes and integrity concerns. As part of the series, the reporting team created the first-ever statewide public database of every officer on the “Brady” list. The station’s investigation prompted officials to launch multiple investigations, ended the careers of dishonest officers, forced county attorneys to increase transparency and pushed police union leaders to acknowledge the need for a misconduct database.

“Full Disclosure” has received several other major honors in 2021, including the Peabody Award, IRE Award and National Headliner Award. This is the second duPont win for KNXV in four years; the station won in 2018 for “Cash for Compliance.” It also was a finalist in 2021 for “Abuse of Force.”

“This pair of investigations stands as a powerful reminder of the role local journalism plays in our society,” said Brian Lawlor, Scripps president of Local Media. “The ABC15 Investigators’ intrepid reporting and use of public records shed light on abuses of power within public agencies entrusted to serve and protect their community. We’re proud of this team’s dogged pursuit of truth on behalf of Arizona citizens and the widespread impact it continues to have for them.”

Media contact: Michael Perry, The E.W. Scripps Company, 513-259-4718, [email protected]

About Scripps
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) is a diversified media company focused on creating a better-informed world. As one of the nation’s largest local TV broadcasters, Scripps serves communities with quality, objective local journalism and operates a portfolio of 61 stations in 41 markets. The Scripps Networks reach nearly every American through the national news outlets Court TV and Newsy and popular entertainment brands ION, Bounce, Grit, Laff, Court TV Mystery, Defy TV and TrueReal. Scripps is the nation’s largest holder of broadcast spectrum. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of 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.”