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Local Investigative Reporters in NYC to Claim Peabodys

Big congrats to the folks at WEWS Cleveland, KLAS Las Vegas, KPHO Phoenix and KING Seattle for fetching Peabody awards at the Waldorf in New York today.

Given out by the University of Georgia, the prestigious Peabodys go to the best in electronic media. Sir Patrick Stewart handed out the hardware.

WEWS Cleveland won for “Operation Deep Freeze,” about military veterans who were exposed to radiation while stationed in Antarctica in the ’60s and ’70s. Ron Regan, investigative reporter at WEWS, credited parent Scripps for their commitment, along with that of his news director and general manager, and “all the veterans who had the courage to share their story with us.”

Landmark-owned KLAS Las Vegas won for “Desert Underwater,” its series on the housing market collapse, and how it affected residents. Reporter Colleen McCarty said the issue was “simply too big to ignore.”

“Thank you to KLAS for giving us the freedom to do these kinds of stories,” she said.

KING Seattle won for “Their Crime, Your Dime,” about welfare fraud in the community. Reporter Chris Ingalls said it was an 18-month effort–no small accomplishment amidst what he called “pretty dark days” for investigative reporting.

“I’m proud to work for an organization that said, ‘Let’s go for it,’” he said. “And we did.”

He also thanked parent Belo for supporting its stations’ local reporting efforts. “Belo foots the bill for journalism that isn’t always easy and isn’t always cheap,” he said, “but it’s right.”

KPHO Phoenix, meanwhile, won for “Toxic Secrets,” about American soldiers burying leaking drums of Agent Orange in Korea decades before, and the health issues sustained by many of them. Reporter Tammy Leitner thanked parent Meredith for giving the team the resources to trek to Korea and execute the story.

“There’s no way the station could do this level of journalism,” she said, without the support of Meredith, along with GM Ed Munson and news director Michelle Donaldson.

On the lighter side, winners also included Portlandia on IFC, Game of Thrones on HBO and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Colbert brought down the house, as usual, calling his launch of a Super PAC “the most wonderful trouble,” and thanking Viacom for inadvertently pushing him to do so by telling him it was a bad idea.