Zurik, FOX 8 win Gannett Foundation Award for "Playing With Fire - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Zurik, FOX 8 win Gannett Foundation Award for "Playing With Fire"

Image from RTNDA.org Image from RTNDA.org

FOX 8 Chief Investigative Reporter Lee Zurik has won the 2013 Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism for his "Playing With Fire" investigative series.

The Radio Television Digital News Association and the Gannett Foundation announced the award Tuesday morning.

"In the series, Zurik and his colleagues investigated the handling of financial affairs by a board which oversees pensions for retired New Orleans firefighters," reads the announcement on RTNDA's web site. "With television stories and online elements including an interactive component that allowed viewers to see key source documents, WVUE's reporting resulted in ethics charges, changes in state law and a complete overhaul of the retirement board."

"If you're a public official and you think Louisiana is a good place to engage in questionable business, you'd better not do it around Lee Zurik," states one of the award judges in RTNDA's report.

The Gannett Foundation Award is a national award, presented annually for "groundbreaking work by a journalist or a staff that creatively used digital tools in the role of being a community's watchdog," according to the RTNDA. "Special consideration is given to journalism that helps a community understand and address important issues."

Lee credits FOX 8 colleagues Donny Pearce, Greg Phillips, Tom Wright, Wes Cook, EQ Vance and News Director Mike Schaefer for their help in developing the Playing With Fire investigation. He'll accept the award at this year's RTDNA Awards Dinner and Show in New York City, Oct. 14.

He can review the Playing With Fire special web section here.

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