Business stories among duPont award winners
Business-related stories are among the winners of the 2011 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award Winners.
“60 Minutes” won for a story about the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. The judges stated, “In the middle of a breaking story, Scott Pelley and his team produced a model of investigative reporting uncovering new information from a central figure in the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. The information from their interview with an eyewitness broke news laying out a series of mishaps in the weeks leading to the disaster that provided valuable clues about what went wrong. Their creative use of first-rate graphics helped viewers understand what happened on the oil rig and underground to cause the explosion. With spare and effective writing, the team produced both a riveting and harrowing story.”
KUSA-TV in Denver won for a story about a real estate scam. The judges wrote, “The 9News team spent months unraveling a string of predatory frauds that created two sets of victims – those facing foreclosure and those looking to rent. They followed the story halfway around the world to expose a man taking advantage of foreclosed homeowners and desperate renters in five states, including Colorado. The team talked to dozens of victims, used local, state and federal public records, court records, surveillance and social networking to uncover the plot. Their dogged reporting sparked state and federal investigations of similar fraud in other states, and is a telling part of the larger story of America’s mortgage crisis.”
WKOW-TV in Madison, Wisc., won for a story about the lack of action by the state’s consumer protection agency. The judges commented, “WKOW-TV’s determined eight-month investigation into the State of Wisconsin’s Bureau of Consumer Protection revealed that the agency was not helping a large number people who brought complaints to it. Reporter Dan Cassuto did the legwork, tracking down internal documents to determine the agency’s methodology, and interviewing ordinary people who were disappointed by their local government. It is a powerful use of limited resources. Graphic elements helped illuminate the issue. In this well-written, well-researched, and concisely told series of reports, we see the irony of a local protection agency that is not protecting its community.”
WTHR-TV in Indianapolis won for a story about the lack of numbers behind the state’s economic job growth. The judges wrote, “As Indiana’s unemployment rate soared, this intrepid eight-month investigation by WTHR-TV exposed how state leaders inflated official job statistics through a quasi-state agency shrouded in secrecy. When the agency refused to give the station proof to back up its numbers, WTHR’s investigative team visited hundreds of so-called ‘economic success stories.’ They found abandoned factories and empty cornfields where the governor and the agency claimed there were tens of thousands of new jobs. State lawmakers launched their own investigation after the series aired. Comparing practices with adjoining states helped underscore the bad practices in Indiana. The series is an example of outstanding reporting in the public service.”
Read about all of the winners here.