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David Hammer - Investigative Reporter

A 7th generation New Orleanian and 5-time Emmy winner, David Hammer has more than two decades of investigative reporting experience.
Credit: WWL-TV

Award-winning investigative reporter David Hammer has been a professional journalist since 1997, joining the WWL-TV Eyewitness News team in New Orleans in 2012.

Hammer has won five Emmys over the course of his career.

He won in 2022 for his series "Losing Faith," which exposed a coverup of child molestation charges against a priest from New Orleans by the Archdiocese of Military Services. 

Hammer also won the Emmy in 2018 for his environmental series "Toxic Truth," looking at air pollution in the so-called Cancer Alley between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

He also took home an Emmy in 2017 for his investigation of illicit oil dumping in the Gulf of Mexico called “Oil and Water.”

He was part of the Eyewitness Investigations team that won the 2016 Emmy for a series on slow police response times called "NOPD: Call Waiting."

And he won an Environmental News Emmy in 2020 for "Stench of Failure", an investigation of the Jefferson Parish Landfill

The team also won the 2018 Associated Press Award for best documentary for their “Down the Drain” series on New Orleans’ drainage failures, the 2016 national Scripps Howard Foundation Award for “NOPD: Call Waiting.”

Hammer won the New Orleans Press Club’s top investigative reporting award in 2019 for "Toxic Truth" and that same award in 2016 for his exclusive stories on trumpeter Irvin Mayfield spending public library donations on his jazz orchestra and lavish travel.

Hammer also received the 2014 Jim Metcalf Memorial Award, the Press Club's honor for story of the year in New Orleans television news, for a multi-part investigation of offshore oil and gas operations called "Safety Last."

Hammer, a seventh-generation New Orleanian, came to WWL-TV after a 15-year career as a print and wire reporter, including almost six years at The Times-Picayune. He is proud of his New Orleans heritage and makes it his mission to help improve his community by holding area leaders accountable and exposing fraud and abuse.

At the newspaper, Hammer investigated former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, confronting Nagin about the trip he and his family took to Hawaii on a vendor's dime, exposing many of the criminal dealings that led to Nagin’s federal bribery conviction.

In addition to his investigations into state and local government, Hammer 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 world's best environmental 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 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 and several of the people he investigated ended up in federal prison.

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.

Contact David at dhammer@wwltv.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidHammerWWL and Facebook.

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