WBAL-TV wins 3 Murrow awards - one on robocalls

WBAL-TV, Baltimore's Hearst-owned NBC affiliate, won three regional Edward R. Murrow Awards Thursday.

The awards are for breaking news coverage, best news series and outstanding broadcast affiliated website.

WBFF-TV, Baltimore's Sinclair-owned Fox affiliate, won one award for video sports reporting.

Meanwhile in radio, WBAL-AM dominated with five Murrow Awards in categories ranging from breaking news to best website.

The breaking news award for TV went to Jayne Miller's election night coverage of the false robocalls put out by the campaign of failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Ehrlich. Within 20 minutes of getting a tip on the calls, which told viewers the election was over and they should stay home, Miller was on the air telling viewers the calls were a lie intended to cheat them out of their votes.

The news series award was for several reports by I-Team reporter Deborah Weiner looking at health-care insurance issues.

"In a series of reports, I-Team reporter Deborah Weiner challenged an insurance giant and helped a local family get the health care coverage they desperately needed and deserved," a station release on the awards said. "She also exposed flaws in the health care system, including a reimbursement system that allows health care providers to legally overbill insurance companies for medical equipment."

According to the station, "WBALTV.COM was honored for consistently delivering breaking news promptly and providing context to the content, unmatched in the marketplace. More than a medium used to repurpose content, the core mission of the site is to provide comprehensive local content, beyond the basic story."

"WBAL-TV and WBALTV.com provide an important public service to the community by getting the story out quickly and accurately while allowing viewers to share their experiences," Dan Joerres, president and general manager, said.

It's nice to see the industry honor the kind of work Miller and Weiner did. As I wrote at the time, Miller's reporting on election night was a particularly fine example of journalism intended to serve democracy -- to give voters the best information available as they go to the polls.

Just as the Ehrlich campaign attempted to cheat citizens out of their votes, so did the confirmation and quick turnaround by Miller successfully counter that dishonesty on election night.

It is a textbook example of how a free and diligent press serves democracy.

The awards are presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association.


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