NEW ORLEANS — WWL-TV is proud to announce that its news department is the recipient of two National Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association.
WWL-TV News was recognized for Best Digital coverage along with the award for Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for its series of shows and specials called “The Talk,” written, produced and hosted by Anchor Charisse Gibson.
Both awards are in the large market category that includes the nation’s top 50 television markets. WWL-TV was the only station in New Orleans to receive two National Awards. The national honors come from the 'best of the best' among the regional winners from around the country.
WWL-TV’s digital coverage featured the following items in its entry.
- The innovative COVID tracker that kept pace with the state of Louisiana’s COVID cases and later, vaccinations
- The investigative series “Standard of Care,” from reporters Katie Moore and Mike Perlstein, which focused on the state’s nursing homes that were the center of COVID cases and deaths when the pandemic began and the problem they had in dealing with the virus
- Breaking news coverage of the Endymion tragedy that saw a spectator killed after being caught in the middle of a tandem float. It was the second such death in four nights as a similar tragedy occurred during the Krewe of Nyx earlier in the week. Coverage included live reports from the scene, reports from the hospital and a breaking story on the site and app.
- Social justice coverage of the 50th anniversary about a standoff between the Black Panther Party and New Orleans Police by Charisse Gibson and photographer Adam Copus
- The feature obituary on Mr. Mardi Gras, Blaine Kern, by WWL-TV executive producer and historian Dominic Massa
The site also covered seven named storms that at some point had Louisiana in its cone of uncertainty in 2020.
The WWL-TV Digital Team includes Digital Director Tom Planchet, Senior Producers Kevin Dupuy and Sam Winstrom, Weekend Assignment Editor and Producer Osama Ayyad, Morning Show Producer Chris McCrory and Evening Show Producer Raeven Poole.
“This award is also for all in our newsroom who contribute content and ideas to our digital platforms and shows not only have we provided excellent and trustworthy news and information for our audience for the past 65 years, but we are also the best at serving our audience as it evolves more and more into consuming that content online in the future,” said Executive News Director Keith Esparros.
The Excellence in Diversity award came for Charisse Gibson and photographer Derek Waldrip’s stories on ‘The Talk’ that most Black families have with their children when they reach a certain age that has also expanded to include communication between diverse groups, bringing them together to try to forge understanding.
"The “Talk” was meant to be thought provoking during a time of rising racial tension in our country," said Gibson. "It allowed people from our community to share the Black experience in an attempt to create understanding and promote change that is desperately needed. It was important to confront the ongoing issue of racial hatred, bias and micro aggressions head on. While we knew the conversation wouldn’t be an easy one to have, it led to a continued and expanded dialogue. We are invested in this community and in order to bridge the gap, we have to continue these provocative conversations.”
The Talk included an initial documentary that was followed by a national, digital town hall that included local social justice organizers and educators along with the New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson and nationally-recognized, award-winning actor Wendell Pierce. The series has expanded to include additional stories around trying to forge racial understanding.
“What started as a conversation about a single news story expanded to a documentary expertly executed by Charisse Gibson and Derek Waldrip and is still growing,” said Esparros.