Stations in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Chicago have been named Peabody Award winners, for investigations into fire response times, a failed 911 system, and the police shooting of 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald.
Reporter Paul Van Osdol investigated fire response times for WTAE, Pittsburgh’s ABC station. The Peabody judges said “his sleuthing prompted legislative hearings and the passage of bills aimed at quickening response and saving lives, as well as public questioning of the dependence on volunteers instead of professional municipal services.”
Atlanta NBC station WXIA won for 911: Lost on the Line, an investigation by reporter Brendan Keefe. After one 911 call failed–leading to a death, Keefe “launched an ambitious, enterprising multimedia probe that revealed government oversights and technical shortcomings in supposedly smart iPhones and in telecommunications infrastructure that were causing needless deaths across the country.”
And NBC-owned WMAQ began its probe of the Chicago Police six months before an officer was charged with first-degree murder in the McDonald case. The judges said “WMAQ’s relentless, unrivaled reporting brought to light a host of police procedural infractions, official disinformation and outright lies, and contributed to a police department shake-up.”