AUSTIN (KXAN) — A KXAN Investigation into the racial profiling records of the Austin Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety has been recognized with an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.
The KXAN Investigation uncovered overwhelming evidence that law enforcement was subverting racial profiling statistics by consistently misreporting the race of minority motorists during traffic stops. Both Texas DPS and the Austin Police Department ordered reviews of their ticketing process following KXAN’s investigation. The investigation prompted action by state lawmakers and triggered audits and policy changes within both agencies.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized for KXAN’s commitment to investigative journalism that holds the powerful accountable and gets results for our viewers,” KXAN Vice President and General Manager Eric Lassberg said.
The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award is given to recognize journalists for the strength of their reporting, storytelling and the impact on the public interest. KXAN is one of only four television stations to be recognized nationwide in the 2017 class of recipients. National media receiving awards include NBC News’ Dateline and PBS’ Frontline.
“Now more than ever, reliable news and information are critical to our society,” said Bill Wheatley, the chairman of this year’s awards jury. “In their 75th year, the duPont Awards continue to recognize the vital contributions to public knowledge made by free, fair and probing journalists.”
“We’re committed to serving our community by reporting on issues that directly impact people’s lives,” explained KXAN News Director Chad Cross, “We’re grateful for this recognition of the important work by KXAN’s team of investigators.”
The award recognizes KXAN’s special report on air and online by Brian Collister, Investigative Reporter; Joe Ellis, Investigative Producer; Ben Friberg, Investigative Photojournalist; Josh Hinkle, Executive Producer; Chad Cross, News Director; Robert Sims, Digital Media Manager.
Since 1968 the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University has administered the awards, which the school considers “the most prestigious award in television and radio news, the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes [which are also administered at the Graduate School of Journalism].”