WNCN has been named regional winner for “Video Newscast” by the 2013 Edward R. Murrow Awards for its 7 p.m. newscast on Oct. 25, 2012.
The award-winning show began by tracking Super Storm “Sandy” before quickly transitioning into comprehensive coverage of a special investigative report — “Poison in the Water.”
The report earned Media General's D. Tennant Bryan Award for Investigative Journalism earlier this year. Media General, out of Richmond, Va., is the parent company of WNCN.
Charlotte Huffman and photographer Dave Hattman exposed statewide groundwater contamination and the failure of multiple government agencies to notify citizens. Anchor Penn Holderness joined Huffman to broadcast live from one of the affected neighborhoods where WNCN had gathered residents to view the report's premiere. The residents applauded Huffman when she entered the room after the report.
“We brought together moms, dads, neighbors and children who unwittingly drank, bathed and cooked with toxic water for years,” said WNCN News Director Andrea Parquet-Taylor. “The heartbreaking truth is that the government agency designed to keep them safe dropped the ball. Our newscast walked the viewer step-by-step through this riveting story of missteps and poor accountability.”
WNCN Vice President and General Manager Doug Hamilton added, “We strive for excellence in all we do, and I am so proud that our news team is being recognized with such a high honor for what they bring to our community every day. This reinforces the commitment to investigative journalism within our station and how it empowers the communities we serve.”
Thursday's announcement was met with cheers in the WNCN newsroom.
WNCN's coverage recently earned legislative recognition with the Private Well Water Education Act (H.B. 396). The bill was introduced by state representatives Rick Catlin (R-New Hanover), Tim Moffitt (R-Buncombe), Chris Millis (R-Pender) and Mark Hollo (R-Alexander) at the request of N.C. Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla, who has consistently credited WNCN's journalism for bringing this issue to the forefront. It emphasizes the importance of testing private water wells and passed the North Carolina House of Representatives unanimously.
The bill now awaits Senate approval.
WNCN now represents the Edward R. Murrow Awards' Region 8, which includes Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, in the next round for national award consideration.