NEWORLEANS-- Eyewitness News investigative reporter David Hammer earned top reporting honors at the 56th annual Press Club of New Orleans journalism awards ceremony, which also honored several other WWL-TV staffers in reporting, photography, internet and promotion categories.
The awards were presented Saturday night at a ceremony at Harrah's Casino theatre.
Hammer won the prestigious Jim Metcalf Memorial Award, the Press Club's top television reporting category, for his continuing coverage in 2013 of safety concerns in the offshore industry following a rig explosion on an offshore oil platform. The 'Safety Last'series also won Hammer first place in the continuing coverage category. The series was also reported by former WWL-TV investigative reporter Brendan McCarthy and photographed and edited by T.J. Pipitone.
McCarthy and Pipitone's work also earned a first place award in the documentary category, for a special program 'Pipeline to the Platform.' The program included their reporting on claims by dozens of Filipino guest workers that they were lured to Louisiana on promises of a better life in the offshore oil industry, but who say they were lied to and treated like slaves. The Eyewitness Investigation uncovered a pipeline of human trafficking, with immigration paperwork allegedly based on lies, and workers holding numerous and fake social security numbers.
Also earning first place honors Saturday were reporter Juan Kincaid, for sports feature, on his profile of recovering Tulane football player Devon Walker. The story was shot and edited by Brian Lukas.
Lukas also earned first place honors for photo essay in this year's Press Club competition and another award for sports action photography.
Photographer Neil Giurintano won first place in the general news videography category as well.
Promotion producer Matt Davis earned first place honors in the station promotion campaign category. Promotion manager Trevor Cassidy also earned honors in the same category.
Other WWL-TV second and third place winners were:
Russell Drewry; breaking news videography
Juan Kincaid, Doug Mouton, Bryan Salmond; sports show
Doug Mouton, Danny Rockwell; planned event
Doug Mouton; sportscast
Bradley Handwerger; sports story & column
Eric Paulsen, Geoff Hackett, Dominic Massa; entertainment
Michael Luke; internet innovation
David Hammer; internet special section
LeKeith Holmes; graphics and animation
Mike Perlstein, Gordon Russell (New Orleans Advocate); partnership