SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- WXYZ-TV has been selected as a winner of the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award, regarded as the highest award in broadcast journalism, for its years-long investigative series: "Wayne County Confidential: Government Run Amok."
7 Action News Investigators Heather Catallo and Ross Jones broke the story of former Wayne County Economic Development Director Turkia Mullin's secret $200,000 severance package. Their investigations also revealed other secret severance deals, a political machine fueled with county resources and global travel for county officials funded by secret donors.
The 7 Action News Investigator's reports led to an FBI investigation, a series of indictments, criminal charges, resignations, firings and stronger ethic rules.
Also honored for their work on the series were editor Randy Lundquist and photographers Ramon Rosario and Johnny Sartin. Ann Mullen is the executive producer of WXYZ's investigative unit.
"The duPont-Columbia award recognizes the very best in broadcast journalism," said Ed Fernandez, E.W. Scripps divisional vice-president and WXYZ vice-president and general manager. "WXYZ is honored to receive this award for upholding the highest journalism standards as we serve our community."
"This award is a testament to the journalistic commitment of WXYZ and its news team to hold our leaders accountable and to take action in the public's interest," said 7 Action News Director Tim Dye. "It is evidence that the true mission of great journalism is to be a catalyst for change."
Each year, approximately a dozen news stories are honored by the Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Awards for their reporting, storytelling, and impact in the public interest. The fourteen winning pieces for 2012 were selected by the duPont jury from hundreds of entries vetted by a board of screeners.
The award will be presented to WXYZ on January 22, 2013 at Columbia University in New York City in a ceremony hosted by Christiane Amanpour of ABC News/CNN and Byron Pitts of CBS News. The evening will feature highlights of the award-winning reporting.
This is the second time WXYZ has received the coveted duPont-Columbia Award. The first win was in 1996 for "Target 7: Michigan's Secret Soldiers."
The duPont-Columbia Award caps off an award winning year for WXYZ. Honors in 2012 include:
"Station of the Year" from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB)
General Excellence Award from the Associated Press (AP)
Station Excellence Award from the Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS – Emmys)
WXYZ-TV is owned by E.W. Scripps. Scripps is a leading media enterprise that embraces its rich history in delivering high-quality journalism through television stations, newspapers and the Scripps Howard News Service, while developing and expanding its digital strategies, including social gaming, for multiple platforms. The company provides community-changing breaking news, story-telling, investigations and interactive outreach at 19 television stations in major markets such as Denver, San Diego, Detroit, Phoenix, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Tampa, and 13 newspaper markets, including Memphis, Knoxville, Naples, Fla., and Corpus Christi, Texas. Since 1941, Scripps has operated the National Spelling Bee, one of America's most-enduring celebrations of academic excellence.