KING 5 Wins National Press Club Award for “Waste on the Water”


by KING 5

Posted on July 11, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 11 at 4:34 PM

Seattle, WA – The National Press Club announced the KING 5 Investigative series “Waste on the Water” is the winner of the 2011 Consumer Journalism Award for excellence in broadcasting.


Over an eight month period, KING 5 Investigative Reporter Susannah Frame, Executive Producer Kellie Cheadle, and photographers/editors Steve Douglas and Doug Burgess documented tens of millions of dollars of systemic wasteful spending and a lack of accountability at the largest ferry system in the United

States – the Washington State Ferries.


“We are thrilled to be recognized by the National Press Club for excellence in consumer journalism, said Kellie Cheadle, Executive Producer for KING 5’s Investigative Unit. “Every day across the country there is so much great investigative work being broadcast. It is humbling for our team to be singled out.”


A year ago, in the same broadcast category, PBS’ Frontline won the National Press Club’s Consumer Journalism Award for “The Card Game,” an investigation of the consumer loan industry. 


“For the KING 5 Investigators to win the Consumer Journalism Award that PBS Frontline won last year from the National Press Club is a great honor,” said Mark Ginther, Executive News Director of KING 5 News. “Without question our investigative team here in Seattle is producing some of the most compelling, thoroughly researched stories you’ll see anywhere in the United States.”


The impact of the “Waste on the Water” series on the state ferry system was significant. As a result of KING 5’s series, state leaders and the governor implemented reforms to erase the systemic wasteful spending at the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferry system. Some of the reforms include the hiring of a deputy director to hold managers more accountable, assembling an expert panel to review operations and make recommendations, ordering an agency-wide audit by the state auditor’s office, implementing an overtime policy, and new contract agreements with the ferry unions to remove some of the lucrative perks ferry workers have had for decades.    


Honors for this acclaimed series come at the national, regional and local level.  KING 5 received a 2011 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Award and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for “Waste on the Water.” Most recently the series won a NATAS Northwest Regional Emmy for continuing coverage. The Municipal League of King County also honored Susannah Frame with a Civic Award for her Washington State Ferries investigation.


Two of the three National Press Club Award winners given in broadcast categories this year are stations belonging to Belo Corp - KING-TV and KHOU-TV, winner of the Free Animal Reporting Award for a body of work that made a difference, including reporting on poor conditions at a puppy mill.  


Seattle Times staff reporter Michael J. Berens won the Consumer Journalism Award for newspapers for his “Seniors for Sale” series about abuses and neglect in Washington State’s adult family home industry.


National Press Club President Mark Hamrick stated in the press release on the winners of the awards competition, “We are proud to associate ourselves with outstanding journalism, and to remind the public why journalism matters.” 


The National Press Club is a social and business organization for journalists and communications professionals. In addition to consumer reporting, the NPC awards competition honors a wide spectrum of categories including Washington correspondence, freedom of the press, online journalism, press criticism, regional, diplomatic, environmental, and animal reporting, political journalism and geriatric writing.


The Journalism Awards Dinner will take place Wednesday, August 10th at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.