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Scripps’ Give Light Awards recognize employees who went above and beyond in 2020

Feb. 11, 2021 By Kari Wethington

CINCINNATI – The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) today honored some of the best work from 2020 across the company with the Give Light Awards.

Scripps recognizes employees who went above and beyond in 2020

The awards – named to reflect Scripps’ longtime company motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way” – recognize work in six categories: Creating a Better-Informed World, Doing Well by Doing Good, Creating Value, Leading at all Levels, Upholding the First Amendment and All for Scripps.

“The Give Light Awards celebrate and honor the passion and commitment of our employees, who bring our ‘give light’ motto to life each day – through best-in-class journalism, creative solutions and community impact,” said Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson. “The global pandemic, the focus on racial justice and the intense partisanship of 2020 called on us to work harder and smarter than ever, and today we celebrate a few of the many Scripps employees across the country who rose to the occasion.”

The 2020 Give Light Awards winners and award categories are:

  • Creating a Better-Informed World: The news team at WFTS in Tampa, Florida, took home the top honor for storytelling with the greatest impact, for “The Price of Protection…Guardianship Failures.” Adam Walser, investigative reporter; Randy Wright, photographer; and Melanie Payne, manager of enterprise content, were honored for their continuous commitment to reporting on abuses in the guardianship process, resulting in vast changes to the system.
    Honorable mention: Maren Machles, national investigative associate producer at the Scripps Washington Bureau, was recognized for her work on “A Broken Trust.” The Newsy investigation successfully shed light on the search for justice for two groups of women who are most at risk of sexual assault in America.
  • Doing Well by Doing Good: The investigative team at WFTS was honored for the series “Working for Out-of-Work Floridians.” Their reporting helped a record-breaking number of Floridians in desperate need of unemployment benefits, giving voice to those fearing eviction, food insecurity and other economic hardships. The team includes Kylie McGivern, investigative reporter; Heather Leigh, multimedia journalist; Jillian Ramos, content planner; Randy Wright, photographer; and Matt McGlashen, photographer.
  • Creating Value: Dave Francois, managing director of OTT and product strategy; Libby Duebber, digital project manager; Socrates Lozano, senior director of OTT content; Jacob Riley, systems administration technician for Local Media master control; Daniel Myers, senior manager of software development; and Ashley Harriman, director, Local Media audience development, won this award – which recognizes innovation – for building the Local Media division’s over-the-top television (OTT) product and sales platform into a substantial and viable Scripps offering, providing value to viewers and advertisers.
    Honorable mention: A team of engineers and facilities management employees at WXYZ in Detroit received praise from the judges for their commitment to solve the challenges created by the pandemic. In just three weeks, the team converted a virtual green room into a second studio to keep news staff safe while transforming a 90-year-old farmhouse on the station’s property into a space for client commercial production. The team includes Donn Bousquet, operations and production manager; Nikolas Tyckowski, studio and chargehand; Russ Rothermel, facilities manager; and Kirk Allen, director of engineering.
  • Leading at All Levels: Heather Catallo, investigative reporter at WXYZ, was honored for going above and beyond to serve her community. Catallo exposed hospital mistreatment of COVID-19 patients, uncovered an unsafe landing system at Detroit Metro Airport and took the time to contact Michigan’s unemployment agency on behalf of viewers struggling with the application process.
    Honorable mention: Bobby Bachman, account executive at KXLF in Butte, Montana, was recognized for supporting his colleagues in crucial ways amid a challenging year for sales teams. Bachman’s creativity and “can do” attitude helped his team close business and generate additional revenue for clients.
  • Upholding the First Amendment: Full Disclosure,” from KNXV in Phoenix, won the award for exemplary service to the First Amendment protection of a free press. The reporting team created the first-ever statewide public database of every officer on the “Brady list,” designed to track police officers with histories of lying and committing crimes. The investigation prompted officials to launch multiple investigations, ended the careers of dishonest officers, forced county attorneys to increase transparency and pushed union leaders to acknowledge the need for a misconduct database. The team includes Dave Biscobing, investigative reporter; Shawn Martin, executive producer, enterprise and investigative; and Lauren Wilson, specialty producer, enterprise and investigative.
    Honorable mention: The news team at WRTV in Indianapolis was recognized for “Fighting for Nursing Home Death Data,” which prompted the state of Indiana to provide transparency around COVID-19 nursing home cases and deaths through a public dashboard. The team includes Rick Harker, specialty producer; Brad Forestal, photographer; Katie Cox, executive producer; and Kara Kenney, investigative reporter.
  • All for Scripps: A team of journalists at WTVFin Nashville, Tennessee, won this award for stepping up during the challenges and changes of 2020. They started the year reporting on the deadliest tornadoes in Nashville’s history and ended it covering a downtown bombing on Christmas Day. The team reported on the local and national impact of the pandemic, the contentious election cycle and the spotlight on social injustice. Through it all, they displayed resilience and commitment to their responsibility as journalists – showing audiences the story and the emotions, through the lens of the camera. The team includes Brian Hallett, photojournalist; Eric Hilt, reporter; Chris Davis, reporter; Hank Elliott, photojournalist; and Michelle Bonnett, assistant news director.
    Honorable mention:
    Rob Perillo, evening meteorologist at KATC in Lafayette, Louisiana, was recognized for his commitment to his community, providing urgent information during an unprecedented six tropical cyclones that impacted the state.

The winners were celebrated in an all-employee virtual broadcast event today and will receive an award of Scripps stock.

About Scripps
Scripps (NASDAQ: SSP) is a diversified media company focused on creating a better-informed world. As the nation’s fourth-largest local TV broadcaster, Scripps serves communities with quality, objective local journalism and operates a portfolio of 61 stations in 41 markets. Scripps’ national networks reach nearly every American through the news outlets Court TV and Newsy and popular entertainment brands ION, Bounce, Grit, Laff and Court TV Mystery. 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.” 

Media contact:
Kari Wethington, The E.W. Scripps Company, 513-977-3763, Kari.wethington@scripps.com