The KING 5 Investigative team of reporter Susannah Frame, photojournalist Steve Douglas, and executive Russ Walker received a 2013 George Foster Peabody Award for their work on "Hanford's Dirty Secrets."
The series was produced as part of a 10-month investigation that exposed mismanagement, wasted tax dollars and a cover-up by government officials and private contractors at the country's most contaminated site.
The investigation focused on the most serious leak of nuclear waste ever seen from an underground tank at Hanford, where the most complex environmental cleanup in human history is underway.
“Hanford’s Dirty Secrets” exposed the government contractor in charge of the tanks, who ignored scientific evidence that the cancer-causing materials were escaping from the tank for nearly a year. During that time, the company wasted millions of tax dollars by continuing work on a project rendered useless by the leak and misled the public along with the U.S. government.
The work by KING 5's team led to the governor and Department of Energy calling for investigations, the abrupt resignation of the president of the company at the center of the investigation, the formation of a safety committee and an initiative to change public policy.
“It is great recognition for the dedication and commitment they each made to dig into this story. The piles of documents, numerous interviews and long drives were hurdles which a lot of people would have shied away from...not these three,” said Mark Ginther, KING 5 Executive News Director.
The George Foster Peabody Awards (Peabody Awards) program recognizes distinguished and meritorious public service by radio and television stations, networks, producing organizations, and individuals. They are presented each year by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.
The Peabody awards will be formally presented May 19 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.