by: Steve Riley, Director of Creative Services Updated:
ATLANTA,None - Channel 2 WSB-TV and investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer have been awarded one of thirteen Silver Batons handed out in the 2012 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards. Fleischer, photographer-producer-editor Josh Wade and research assistant Sonja King will receive their award in New York on January 19, 2012.
Broadcasters regard the duPont Award as the most prestigious prize in broadcast news. It was awarded to Channel 2 Action News for an investigation that exposed a scheme in which suspects filed fraudulent real estate paperwork at local courthouses in an effort to steal homes that were in foreclosure. Fleischer and King spent weeks following the paper trail of quit claim deeds and foreclosure records in order to track down dozens of homes involved and a group of suspects affiliated with the sovereign citizen movement.
"We are honored to receive this recognition,” said Fleischer. “We were committed to exposing the group's paper terrorism and real estate activities and the impact they were having throughout Georgia. We are humbled to be in such outstanding company," added Fleischer.
The investigation ultimately led to more than a dozen arrests. After the report aired, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation formed a task force to educate local law enforcement and prosecutors on how to handle these kinds of cases. Several officers requested DVD’s of the stories to use for training. Also, several district attorneys are working together to draft legislation to tighten Georgia laws regarding these cases.
“I am proud of the hard work and dedication by Jodie, Josh and Sonja on this story, said Marian Pittman, Channel 2’s news director. “They worked as a team and uncovered a serious local issue,” Pittman added.
“Being recognized for excellence in news gathering and coverage highlights the hard work and investigations our news team puts into all of our newscasts,” said Tim McVay, Channel 2’s vice president and general manager. “This particular award demonstrates the breadth and strength of our commitment to deliver important investigations impacting our communities,” added McVay.
Fleischer’s in-depth investigative report has also won a 2011 NATAS Emmy for Investigative Report and was a finalist in the Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards for Investigative Reporting.
The duPont Awards’ annual screening process is rigorous. Two groups of screeners made up of past winners, media professionals and educators, a total of over 100 people, screened the entries before the winners were selected by the duPont Jury in late October.
The duPont Jury looks for accurate and fair reporting about important issues that are powerfully told. Breaking news coverage, reporting with innovative storytelling and content, and stories that have made an impact in the public interest are also paramount.
The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards will celebrate their 70th Anniversary in 2012. The awards honor excellence in broadcast and digital journalism and were established in 1942 by Jessie Ball duPont in memory of her husband, Alfred I. duPont.
Full release from the Alfred I. duPont Awards
Jodie Fleischer’s Facebook page
WSB-TV’s Facebook page
About Channel 2 WSB-TV The ABC Affiliate is part of Cox Media Group and ranks as Atlanta’s number one local television station. The station also operates its website, wsbtv.com, its mobile site, wap.wsbtv.com, and airs MeTV on its digital channel 2.2.
About Cox Media Group
Cox Media Group, Inc. is an integrated broadcasting, publishing, direct marketing and digital media company that includes the national advertising rep firms of Cox Reps. With $1.8 billion in revenue, the company operations include 15 broadcast television stations and one local cable channel, 85 radio stations, eight daily newspapers and more than a dozen non-daily publications, and more than 100 digital services. Additionally, CMG owns and operates Valpak, one of the leading direct marketing companies in North America. For more information about Cox Media Group, please check us out online at www.coxmediagroup.com.