Susannah Frame is the chief investigative reporter and reporting coach at KING 5. Her stories have exposed many wrongs, including government waste, real estate fraud, homeland security breaches, injustices faced by injured workers, civil rights violations of the disabled, and the mismanagement of nuclear waste. Frame's investigations have led to changes in public policy, congressional and Department of Justice investigations, federal indictments and created many new state laws.
Frame is on the board of directors for the Society of Professional Journalists, Western Washington Chapter, and is a frequent lecturer for groups such as the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters & Editors, Inc., the Washington State Bar Association, and the University of Washington Department of Communication.
Frame has won many of the most prestigious national awards that honor journalism in the public interest. Those include two George Foster Peabody Awards, two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, a national Emmy Award and a du-Pont Columbia University Award, considered the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. In addition, Frame’s reports have been recognized with multiple regional Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Awards.
Investigations, results, and honors
In 2019, Frame won a George Foster Peabody Award, a national Edward R. Murrow Award, a Katherine Schneider Medal from the Cronkite School of Journalism, an Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. (IRE) certificate, three regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a regional Emmy for the year-long series: “Back of the Class.” The investigation uncovered that the state of Washington lags behind most of the nation in serving children in special education.
Also in 2019, Frame won a national Emmy Award for her work on injustices faced by nuclear workers at the Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington state. The reporting also garnered a regional Emmy, the “Hanford Hero Award” from the watchdog group Hanford Challenge, and the “Worker’s Champion Award” from the Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.
In 2018, Frame won a National Headliner Award, a national Clarion Award, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, three regional Emmy Awards, a regional Society of Professional Journalists Award, and a national Emmy nomination for investigations on Hanford, including the series “Sick and Forgotten at Hanford.” The Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. (IRE) also selected the series as an award finalist. IRE awards recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism in the country. The multi-part investigation exposed the decades long injustice of denying worker compensation claims to sick Hanford workers and led to a new state law to make it easier to get claims accepted.
Also in 2018, Frame won a national Clarion Award and a regional Emmy Award for “Seven Years of Cyanide,” that revealed safety failures that sickened workers and a cover-up of those problems at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.
In 2017, Frame won a national Edward R. Murrow Award, a national Clarion Award, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, a regional Emmy Award and a national Emmy nomination for “The Human Toll of Hanford’s Dirty Secrets.” The multi-part investigation exposed a decades-long effort by the United States government and its contractors to conceal the dangers of chemical vapors faced by workers at Hanford. The series led to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filing suit against the U.S. Department of Energy on behalf of Hanford workers for the first time in state history. The parties agreed to an historic settlement agreement in 2019 that provides mandatory protections to keep workers safer.
Also in 2017, Frame won a National Headliner Award, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award and an Emmy for “Last of the Institutions,” which exposed how the state of Washington lags behind much of the country in its continued institutionalization of people with developmental disabilities. The US Department of Justice considers unnecessary segregation of the disabled a civil rights violation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
That year the Washington Coalition for Open Government (WCOG) selected Frame as the Kenneth F. Bunting Award recipient. The award is given for journalistic work that utilizes, advances, or educates about the state’s Open Public Meetings Act/Public Records Act. She and her colleagues in the KING 5 Investigative Unit were also honored by WCOG with the Key Award for promoting the cause of open government.
In 2016 Frame won two national Clarion Awards, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award and an Emmy for “Last of the Institutions.” The ARC of King County honored her with a Legacy Award for this work. Also in 2016 Frame won an Emmy for “No Eyes on the Disabled,” which led to a new state law aimed at better protections for adults with intellectual disabilities. In 2016 Frame was nominated for a national Emmy for her series "The Human Toll of Hanford's Dirty Secrets."
In 2015 for "The Human Toll of Hanford's Dirty Secrets" Frame won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, an Emmy, a National Headliner Award and the Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. (IRE) selected the series as an award finalist.
Also in 2015 Frame won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award and an Emmy for "Suffering from Social Services" which revealed a systemic lack of accountability at the state's biggest agency – the Department of Social and Health Services. The reporting prompted action by the state legislature in the passage of "Aiden's Act.”
In 2014 Frame's investigation "Hanford's Dirty Secrets" won a George Foster Peabody Award. The Peabody Awards are internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. IRE selected the series as an award finalist. The reports also won two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and an Emmy. "Hanford's Dirty Secrets" exposed mismanagement, deception and a waste of millions of tax dollars involving a leaking nuclear waste tank at the nation's most contaminated site – the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
In 2014 Frame also won an Emmy for "Fostering Justice" which revealed Washington state lagged behind the rest of the country in protecting the rights of foster children. The reporting led to a new state law requiring - for the first time - legal counsel for some foster children in the state.
Also that year, Frame was nominated for a National Emmy for her investigation "Fraud on the Job." The series exposed rampant fraud and abuse within Washington state's minority contracting program on federal highway projects.
In 2013 IRE selected "Fraud on the Job" as an award finalist. The project also won a Society of Professional Journalists Award and a regional Emmy for investigative reporting. Also in 2013, Seattle Magazine recognized Susannah and her colleagues in the KING 5 Investigative unit as some of the most influential people of the year in the region.
In 2011 Frame won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcast journalism for the investigation "Waste on the Water," which exposed millions of tax dollars wasted in the Washington State Ferry system. The duPont Awards are considered the most prestigious broadcast journalism awards and the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. For "Waste on the Water" Frame also won a National Headliner Award, the National Press Club Consumer Journalism Award, a regional Society of Professional Journalists Award, the national Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Television Journalism, an Emmy and was selected as a finalist for the IRE awards.
Also in 2011, Seattle Magazine named Frame one of the 25 Most Influential People of the Year, the Seattle Weekly named her Radio/Television Reporter of the Year, and the Municipal League of King County honored her as Governmental Reporter of the Year.
In 2010, Frame won two national Clarion Awards and a national Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism from the Journalism Center on Children and Families, an affiliate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism for "State of Injustice,” which exposed flaws in Washington's child welfare system through the stories of two young foster children. She also won a regional Edward R. Murrow award, an Emmy, and a Society of Professional Journalists award for that work.
In 2008 Frame won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award and a Society of Professional Journalists Award for "Exposing E-gate." This uncovered the involvement of the Port of Seattle Police Department in sending or receiving pornographic and racist e-mails on government computers on government time.
In 2007 Frame also won an Emmy for her work on the political program: "Upfront: Turmoil at the Port."
Also in 2007, Frame won an Emmy and a Society of Professional Journalists award for "Nothing to Call Home," which exposed a mortgage scheme that victimized immigrants and fellow church members of the woman who masterminded the scam. These stories led to the arrest, federal indictment and conviction of the mortgage broker. That year Frame also won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for "Signs of Trouble," which uncovered evidence of gang members working in the cargo bins of Alaska Airlines airplanes. In addition, she won a Society of Professional Journalists award for "Troubling Treatment," which exposed problems associated with an unlicensed facility offering treatment for people with mental illness. In 2007, Frame also won an Emmy for Spot News.
In 2006, Frame won the national Sigma Delta Chi Award for "Trouble on the Tarmac," which uncovered safety and security flaws at Alaska Airlines. This prestigious award is given by the Society of Professional Journalists. The series also won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award and a Society of Professional Journalists Award. Frame won another Society of Professional Journalists Award for "Deals of Deception," which exposed a mortgage fraud ring. "Deals of Deception" led to an FBI investigation, federal indictments and convictions. That year she also won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for "Cracks in the System," that exposed government waste and a slow response to critical problems in Tacoma's sidewalk program. In 2006 she also won a Best of the West Award for Consumer Reporting.
In 2005, Frame won a regional Emmy for "Slow to Act," which exposed the state's lack of aggressive action in closing shoddy day cares. Also in 2005, Frame won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for "Raffy's Story," which detailed the death of a young boy at the hands of his mother, after a series of warnings that weren't heeded by the Department of Social and Health Services. In 2005 she was also honored with the Journalist of the Year Award from the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association for stories on unfair practices in the insurance industry.
In 2004, Frame won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for "Fugitive Aid." This story uncovered how wanted felons in our state were receiving welfare benefits, and that state agencies weren't sharing that information to help find the wanted criminals.
In 2003, Frame won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, a regional Emmy and a Best of the West Award for Investigative Reporting for "Fugitive Aid."
Before joining the investigative unit, Frame anchored KING 5 Weekend Morning News, KING 5 News at Noon, and was a general assignment reporter. She has covered a number of high-profile stories for KING 5 News such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the O.J. Simpson trial. Prior to joining KING 5, Frame was a consumer reporter and weekend anchor for KREM-TV (CBS) in Spokane, a documentary producer in New York City, a reporter and anchor at WFRV-TV (ABC) in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and a reporter at KNDO-TV (NBC) in Yakima. Frame began her career as a production assistant for CBS Sports. Frame holds degrees in broadcast journalism and Spanish from the University of Washington. She also attended the University of Guadalajara in Mexico and Hunter College in New York City.
Frame is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Investigative Reporters & Editors, Inc. She is a King County Master Gardener and supports several community causes including the Ravenna Pop Up Kitchen that feeds our homeless neighbors in Northeast Seattle and efforts to advance treatments for the rare blood cancer, Erdheim Chester disease. Susannah also enjoys tennis, skiing and entertaining. She is married with two boys and a black lab, Dewey, named after her grandpa.