Eyewitness News and WWLTV.com are the recipients of two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, including the prestigious overall excellence award, honoring the station’s commitment to investigative reporting and breaking news coverage online and on air, as well as feature reporting, sports and public affairs coverage.
The regional Murrow award winners were announced Tuesday by RTDNA, the Radio Television Digital News Association, which sponsors the annual awards competition.
WWL-TV’s overall excellence entry displayed a wide range of in-depth news coverage, including investigative reports, hard news stories, feature reports, sports coverage and documentaries that took Channel 4 reporters around the world in 2013.
The second regional Murrow award was for sports reporting, for reporter/anchor Juan Kincaid’s story on injured Tulane football player Devon Walker, and his amazing recovery. The story, photographed by Brian Lukas, also won a regional Emmy award.
The stations overall excellence entry included examples of investigative reporting and continuing coverage by David Hammer and former WWL-TV reporter Brendan McCarthy, in two series titled “Safety Last” and “Pipeline to the Platform.” The series of investigative reports included a trip to the Philippines by McCarthy and photographer T.J. Pipitone for a half-hour special exposing the situation involving offshore workers recruited internationally, as well as Hammer’s reports exposing the continued lack of safety enforcement in Gulf of Mexico oil drilling operations, three years after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Also featured was Channel 4’s joint investigation with The New Orleans Advocate, with Eyewitness Investigator Mike Perlstein and Advocate managing editor for investigations Gordon Russell looking into the Tulane scholarship program and alleged abuses of the program.
WWLTV.com was also included on the overall excellence entry, for both its daily breaking news, weather and sports coverage, as well as special sections for Eyewitness Investigations, Saints coverage, feature coverage and crime coverage.
Eyewitness News at 5, produced by Sofia Voulgarakis, was included as part of the overall excellence entry. Other reporting entries recognized as part of the included stories by reporters Katie Moore and Tania Dall, as well as a half-hour documentary produced by Eric Paulsen and photographer Geoff Hackett, on a music exchange program to Japan for a group of local music students and young musicians, organized by The Tipitina’s Foundation.
Also included was public affairs coverage, and a series of reports by medical reporter Meg Farris on the Affordable Care Act and health care changes, including a live phone bank on the Eyewitness Morning News, to take viewer questions about the law and its changes.
The regional awards recognize journalists at TV and radio stations and websites in Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi.
The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Since that time, WWL-TV has been honored with 35 Murrow Awards, both regional and national.