CINCINNATI— In recognition of quality journalism, creative solutions and community impact, The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) is honoring some of its best employee work from 2019 with Give Light Awards.
The awards, which salute the longtime company motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way” recognize work from across the company in five categories: Creating a Better-Informed World, Doing Well by Doing Good, Creating Value, Leading at all Levels and Upholding the First Amendment.
“Our ‘give light’ motto has long guided our work – the journalism that informs and empowers, the creative solutions that lead to new business innovations, and the community impact that deepens our connection with the audiences we serve,” said Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson. “Through the Give Light Awards, we celebrate Scripps employees across the country who embody this motto through their tremendous impact – companywide and within their communities.”
The 2019 Give Lights Awards winners and award categories are:
- Creating a Better-Informed World: The news team at WXYZ in Detroit took home the top honor for storytelling with the greatest impact, for “Detroit 9-1-1.” As a result of the team’s investigation into the local 9-1-1 system, administrative and policy changes were put in place and 9-1-1 hold times were reduced by 60%. The team includes Ross Jones, investigative reporter; Randy Lundquist, editor; Jodie Heisner, assistant news director; John Ciolino, videographer; and Johnny Sartin Jr., videographer.
Honorable mention: WTMJ in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was commended for “Drive Sober,” which has led to proposed legislation and the passage of a drunk driving bill creating mandatory minimums. The news team includes Shannon Sims, reporter and anchor; Rachael Glaszcz, special projects producer; Tamott Wolverton, photojournalist; Paul Marble, photojournalist; and Nicole Buckley, senior manager of investigative, enterprise.
- Doing Well by Doing Good: Chris Conte, reporter at WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee, was honored for meaningful community service. Conte’s coverage of health care costs led to a station initiative called “Medical Debt Rescue.” WTVF made a $15,000 investment to purchase medical debt. After viewer contributions, the project eliminated more than $2 million in medical debt for more than 600 people in Middle Tennessee.
Honorable mention: Danita Harris, anchor at WEWS in Cleveland founded the S.H.I.N.E. organization, which empowers women, domestic violence victims and the homeless. In her work as a journalist, Harris’ coverage highlights community members who are working to end poverty, fighting housing inequality and creating opportunities to help women and minorities have a chance to succeed.
- Creating Value: The WXYZ team in Detroit won this award – which recognizes innovation – for their work in launching the First Annual PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic event and for their exclusive coverage of the tournament and its players. The project team includes Rhonda LaVelle, news director; Sandy McPhee, executive producer, programming; Brad Galli, sports anchor; Tony Lamerato, director of sales; and Donn Bousquet, operations manager.
Honorable mention: Triton received praise from judges for identifying a need to help clients maximize revenue from their existing inventory within Triton’s streaming infrastructure, resulting in the creation of the Yield-Op supply-side platform. The team includes Carole Theisen, product owner, and developers David Colpron, Laetitia Knittel, Suyin Lefebvre and Chris Dupervil.
- Leading at all Levels: Maya Saenz, morning anchor at KMTV in Omaha, Nebraska, won the company’s top award for leadership. As a participant in the company’s leadership development program, Saenz helps “model the way” for other journalists. KMTV leadership say her seminars have led to better decision making in the newsroom, a focus on diversity in the stories covered and stronger ties among staff.
Honorable mention: Sam de Sousa, senior advisor of research and development at Triton, was recognized for his technical and effective communication skills and ability to empower others, which have earned him trust with customers and internal teams.
- Upholding the First Amendment: “The Transparency Project,” from KGTV in San Diego, won the award for exemplary service in the cause of the First Amendment guarantee of a free press. For the project, the reporting team held the San Diego Police Department accountable to a new state law requiring camera footage taken in officer involved shootings to be made public. As part of its coverage, the team took their audience through the content-gathering process and created a robust website, where they compiled all their video and digital reporting. The news team includes Melissa Mecija, investigative reporter; Melissa Alexander, senior enterprise producer; Adam Racusin, investigative reporter; and Jennifer Kastner, investigative reporter.
Honorable mention: WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee, has devoted considerable time and resources to fighting for landmark court rulings and legislation that protects journalists working in Tennessee and beyond. In 2019, the station won victories in the Tennessee Supreme Court and Court of Appeals and successfully fought for legislation protecting those exercising their First Amendment rights. The team includes Michelle Bonnett, assistant news director; Sandy Boonstra, news director; and Phil Williams, chief investigative reporter.
The winners were celebrated in an all-employee broadcast event today. They receive an award of Scripps stock and will attend the 67th Scripps Howard Awards in Cincinnati on Thursday, April 16.
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) advances understanding of the world through journalism. As the nation’s fourth-largest independent TV station owner, Scripps operates 60 television stations in 42 markets. Scripps empowers the next generation of news consumers with its multiplatform news network Newsy and reaches growing audiences through broadcast networks including Bounce and Court TV. Shaping the future of storytelling through digital audio, Scripps owns top podcast company Stitcher and Triton, the global leader in technology and measurement services. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto “Give light and the people will find their own way.”