"KING 5 News Up Front with Robert Mak" delivers in-depth coverage of major issues facing the Pacific Northwest. Leading up to every election, Up Front combines its award-winning political reporting with candidate debates and newsmaker interviews. Launched just after the September 11 attacks in 2001, the show also tackles difficult social and economic issues ranging from religion to health care to transportation.
Whether it's an in-depth interview with former President Jimmy Carter or attorney Bill Gates Sr., "KING 5 News Up Front" has become a forum for newsmakers to speak out on the issues of the day--a place for governors, mayors, senators and citizens to debate important decisions facing the community.
The "KING 5 Ad Watch" and the program's "Winners and Losers" segments offer sharp analysis of policy and campaigns. "Up Front" also presents numerous prime-time specials including its well-respected annual Voter Guide, examining key initiatives and races. On the Web, the program engages viewers with extensive video streaming and the Up Front blog. The program has receieved numerous awards, including regional Emmys for the best "Interview and Discussion Program." Mak's political reporting on Up Front has also been recognized three times with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Broadcast TV Political Journalism.
The Up Front team
Robert Mak, host/reporter: Robert Mak is host of "KING 5 News Up Front," and a news reporter at KING 5 Television, Seattle’s NBC affiliate. Since joining KING-TV in 1992, Mak has established a reputation for award-winning political coverage, tackling difficult and challenging issues facing the Northwest.
Mak has covered many of the major news events shaping public policy in Washington State and his news reports have been recognized by numerous organizations. His coverage of the 2006 election earned him the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Broadcast TV Political Journalism, a national award presented by the University of Southern California Annenberg School. From Washington to New Hampshire, his coverage of the 2004 election won another Cronkite award, as did his extensive "Ad Watch" campaign, examining the claims in political commercials during the 2000 campaign.
Mak’s innovative political coverage has served as a model for local television stations across the country. For many years, Northwest viewers have turned to his campaign and election-night coverage and Mak often serves as moderator for candidate debates. In 2001, he began anchoring the weekly public affairs program, "KING 5 News Up Front with Robert Mak," which airs Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. on KING-TV, 8:00 p.m. on NorthWest Cable News and 11:00 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. on KONG-TV. Launched just after the September 11 attacks, "KING 5 News Up Front" has delivered in-depth coverage of major stories ranging from the war on terrorism to social issues, regional politics and business. In its first year, the program won a regional Emmy award for best "Interview and Discussion Program." In 2003, the program received another Emmy for exploring ethical issues facing the prosecutor in the Green River serial murder case. In 2004, Mak won an Emmy for an Up Front profile of a Seattle doctor’s life-long struggle with kidney disease. Up Front’s coverage of the State Supreme Court races won an Emmy for political reporting in 2006. A gay rights debate moderated by Mak and the show’s coverage of the property rights initiative 933 both won Emmy awards in that same year. "KING 5 News Up Front with Robert Mak" has also presented numerous prime-time specials including its well-respected annual Voter Guide, examining key initiatives and races.
Regional honors include ten Emmy awards, including a 1993 award for a series of undercover investigative reports tracking crime rings that stole, stripped and rebuilt vehicles. Mak won an Emmy for a 1995 investigation into how retailers and finance companies were charging interest rates of up to 45 percent without breaking state laws. He received a 1998 Emmy for a news special on Seattle schools superintendent John Stanford and an Emmy for coverage of the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle. He has also won first-place honors from the Society of Professional Journalists for his Ad Watch and election coverage during the 2000 campaign, and for his reporting on Initiative 695, which repealed license tab taxes in Washington state (1999). He received first-place awards from the Associated Press, in categories including enterprise reporting (1995) and spot news (1999). In 2004, the Municipal League of King County presented Mak with its Civic Award for governmental news reporting. Seattle Magazine named him one of the city’s 25 most influential people.
Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Mak began his work in journalism as a reporter and assistant news editor for the Badger Herald Newspaper. His first experience in broadcast involved volunteering at Madison's public radio and television stations. Mak then worked at country music station WTSO and "top 40" station WZEE, preparing city government and other news stories for the stations' morning newscasts. At an internship at WMTV, Mak covered local news for Madison's NBC affiliate. In 1987, Mak began as an on-air general assignment reporter at WISC-TV3, Madison's CBS affiliate. During his five-year tenure at WISC, Mak reported on stories ranging from crime to agriculture. He was later named state capitol reporter, covering community issues, state budgets and elections. In 1991, Mak received a Wisconsin Broadcasters Association award for a series of reports on new research into a possible link between amalgam fillings and multiple sclerosis. In 2008, Mak joined the administration of Mayor Greg Nickels as Communications Director for the City of Seattle, overseeing communications for two dozen city departments including police, fire, transportation, parks and utilities. He returned to KING-TV in 2010 as host of "KING 5 News Up Front with Robert Mak."
Mak graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. He served four years as national board representative and is a past chapter co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association. In his free time, he enjoys biking, still photography, playing the piano and volunteering for many community organizations.
Mike Cate, Senior Political Producer: Cate brings years of experience as a social worker, teacher and journalist. Since joining KING-5 in 1985, Cate has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists (2000, 1999), the Associated Press (2000, 1997) and numerous Emmy awards (2000, 1999, 1995, 1994, 1991). For the past decade, Cate has produced all political debates for KING-TV. For eight years, Cate produced "The Compton Report," an issues-oriented public affairs program on KING-TV. In 1991, he received the Excellence in Legal Journalism Award from the Washington Bar Association for a report on the process of selecting judges in Washington State. Cate has also been recognized for his political coverage, receiving the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Broadcast TV Political Journalism, a national award presented by the USC Annenberg School in 2001. Cate also a writer/analyst for the Research Group and a group home supervisor for the New York State Department of Developmental Disabilities (1981-1984). He was also a teacher at the Westchester New York Association for Retarded Citizens and a pre-school teacher in Piedmont, California. He holds a master's degree in communications from New York University and a bachelor's degree in history from Carleton College, Minnesota. In his spare time, he enjoys carpentry, cycling and gardening.
Mike Blakey, editor: As primary segment editor for KING 5 Up Front, Mike Blakey edits many of the stories shot in the field by KING 5 photographers. In addition to his editing for Up Front, Blakey also edits audio and video material for KING 5's daily morning and noon broadcasts. He also edits the popular "Gardening with Ciscoe" segments featuring gardening expert Ciscoe Morris and KING 5's Meeghan Black. Mike started at KING-TV in 1988. Prior to joining the home team, he worked as a sports producer for CNN in Atlanta and as a freelance producer for ESPN. In the 1980s, he worked at KCPQ as a sports producer and sports reporter. He graduated from the University of Washington in 1982.