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ABC21 named winner of National Edward R. Murrow Award

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – ABC21 has been named a recipient of the National Edward R. Murrow Award in the category of Investigative Reporting.

The station’s winning entry, “Digging Deeper: Dying on the Job,” was a multi-part, multi-platform examination of the death of a young woman at a Fort Wayne plastics plant and of weaknesses in the system that regulates workplace safety.

Digging Deeper: Dying on the Job” was reported by ABC21 anchor and chief investigative reporter Alexis Shear. It was photographed and edited by Daniel Beals and produced by Jonathan Shelley.

The reports – researched and broadcast over several months — prompted action during the 2019 Indiana legislative session. At the close of the session, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law two measures addressing concerns raised by the investigative series.

The series of reports and accompanying online material have also been recognized with the Lower Great Lakes region Emmy Award for Investigative Reporting; the Indiana Associated Press Broadcasters Award for Investigative Reporting; the Society of Professional Journalists “Best in Indiana” Award for Investigative Reporting; and the National Headliners Award (third place) for Continuing Coverage.

ABC21 and its sister channel, Fort Wayne’s NBC, are part of WPTA TV, a Quincy Media-owned television station serving northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.

The announcement of the National Edward R. Murrow Awards winning entries was made on Tuesday. The awards will be presented at a gala at Gotham Hall in New York City on Oct. 14.

“ABC21 is committed to providing market-leading news coverage, and our ‘Digging Deeper’ reports are a key component of that commitment,” said WPTA TV Vice President and General Manager Merry Ewing. “We are honored to accept an award so highly regarded in our industry – one named for a journalist who will forever be associated with the best in broadcasting.”

The Edward R. Murrow Awards originated in 1971. The competition, sponsored and managed by the Radio Television Digital News Association, recognizes outstanding achievement in broadcast and digital journalism.

“Public trust in journalism is threatened by a lack of understanding about the reporting process,” said RTDNA Chairman Jerry Walsh. “The Edward R. Murrow Awards are an opportunity for our industry to showcase what well trained, ethical local journalists are doing to better our communities on behalf of the public.

“We invite viewers and readers to learn more about the reporting process behind each of these stories, and to know this same process is happening every single day in preparation for every single newscast.”

Judging for local television and radio stations is first done on a regional level, with up to two winners – one from a “Top 50” market, one from all others – selected in each of 16 categories. Those winners advance to a final round of judging in the national competition.

In the national competition, one large market and one small market winner is selected.

The complete list of National Edward R. Murrow Award winners may be found here.

Jon Okerstrom

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