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KING, WBAL Among Cronkite Winners for Political Coverage

TV stations KING Seattle and WBAL Baltimore have the best political coverage among commercial TV stations, according to USC's Annenberg School, which Monday announced its Cronkite Award winners for political coverage.

KING was cited for over 100 minutes a week of in-depth reporting from its political unit, including special mention for its political ad reality checks.

the station "dug deep into issues, providing viewers with clear explanations that would help them understand their choices at the polls," said the judges.

WBAL, which received its first Cronkite award, got kudos for coverage of candidates and "key" issues, with special mention for a story on campaign finance loopholes that made complicated issues "crystal clear."

ABC's Brian Ross won a "special commendation" for breaking the Mark Foley page scandal ( that "changed the course of the election."

top noncom winners were WGBH Boston (large market) for an "involving mix of information and opinion" and Wisconsin Public Television (small market) for providing local political flavor with "beautiful shots and elegant pacing."

Other winners ( included the NBC TV Stations division and Hearst-Argyle for group-wide commitments to coverage.

The awards are given out every two years, and this year will be handed out April 19 at the USC Campus in L.A., with FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, a big backer of campaign coverage and other public service programming, to keynote.