NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - FOX 8 is proud to announce we've been honored with five Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, including the prestigious Overall Excellence award. The awards handed out by the Radio Television Digital News Association recognize organizations that "demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession of electronic journalism."
The "Overall Excellence" award "reflects the depth and scope of the news organization". FOX 8's entry highlighted the gamut of coverage in 2015: from investigative reports into government corruption, to touching stories on rebuilding lives 10 years after Katrina, to the station effort to raise over one million dollars for children's cancer research. This is the fourth time in the last six years FOX 8 has been recognized for "Overall Excellence", including winning the national award in 2013.
Lee Zurik won in the "News Series" category for his investigation "Swiped: Financial Mismanagement". The series exposed a little-known Louisiana retirement system whose executive director spent recklessly on personal trips and fancy meals while simultaneously squandering nearly $150 million in retiree benefits. Our news series led to the board's executive director's resignation, an investigation by the legislative auditor and sweeping institutional changes.
Zurik picked up a second award in the "Hard News Category" for his report "Jindal's Presidential Run." This story highlighted the disturbing pattern of potentially illegal campaign spending by former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal that left taxpayers on the hook for financing part of his failed run at the White House. Our story highlighted the questionable connections between prestigious state board appointments, government contracts and millions in campaign contributions to Jindal's campaign war chests. Also recognized for both of these awards were Photographer/Editor Jon Turnipseed, Investigative Producer Tom Wright, Assistant News Director/Special Projects Director Greg Phillips and News Director Mikel Schaefer.
FOX 8's digital efforts were recognized as well with "Fox8live.com" picking up the award for "Broadcast Affiliated Website". Digital Content Director Chris Finch led the station-wide effort that brings WVUE's coverage to digital consumers, accentuated with special interactive sections that let them dig deeper into the story.
Reporter/Videographer Dave McNamara and his 'Heart of Louisiana" series were honored in the "Use of Video" category. McNamara's entry included a video essay on a nature photographer, a behind the scenes look at a Cajun bakery and a picturesque story about Grand Isle birds.
FOX 8 has now won 39 regional Edward R. Murrow awards, the most in the Louisiana, over the last six years.