Award-winning investigative reporter David Hammer joined WWL-TV's 4 Investigates unit in the fall of 2012. He contributes to Eyewitness News broadcasts and WWLTV.COM.
Hammer won the 2014 Jim Metcalf Memorial Award for story of the year from the New Orleans Press Club. The award honored him and former WWL-TV reporter Brendan McCarthy for their multi-part investigation of offshore oil and gas operations called "Safety Last."
Hammer, a seventh-generation New Orleanian, came to WWL-TV after a six-year career as a reporter at The Times-Picayune.
"At the paper, I made it my mission to give my neighbors as much information as possible about Katrina recovery efforts like the Road Home program, and to be their watchdog keeping public agencies and officials honest as they handled billions in taxpayer dollars," Hammer says. "I am proud and honored to keep that tradition alive – and to take it even further – at WWL-TV."
Hammer was the newspaper's lead investigative reporter on former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. He was the first to confront the mayor about the trip he and his family took to Hawaii on a vendor's dime. He exposed many of the criminal dealings of Nagin associates Greg Meffert, Mark St. Pierre, Aaron Bennett and Frank Fradella, and Hammer broke the story that Nagin himself was the target of a federal grand jury probe.
In addition to his investigations into state and local government and politics, he led the newspaper's investigation of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster and broke several stories about key engineering decisions that contributed to the BP well blowout. That work won Hammer first prize for the nation's best beat reporting of 2010 from the Society of Environmental Journalists.
He was also part of a team of journalists that won the National Journalism Awards' 2010 Edward J. Meeman Prize for environmental reporting, and The Associated Press Managing Editors' top regional news writing award.
Hammer also led the paper's coverage of Hurricane Katrina housing recovery, including the Road Home and hazard mitigation programs. His investigative reports revealed fraud and waste in the state-run grant programs. He won the AP regional award for investigative reporting for his 2011 work uncovering graft and fraud in Louisiana's home-elevation grant program.
A graduate of Harvard University, Hammer's previous journalism experience also includes five years spent working for newspapers in New England and four years with The Associated Press.