KXAS-TV was awarded a 2017 Peabody Award for its extensive NBC 5 Investigates series, “Big Buses, Bigger Problems: Taxpayers Taken for a Ride,” the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication announced Tuesday.
The Peabody Awards are considered among the most prestigious awards in broadcasting and honor the most powerful, enlightening and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media.
“This is NBC 5’s first Peabody and the only Peabody awarded to a local, commercial television station for 2017,” said Tom Ehlmann, NBC 5 President and General Manager. “We constantly strive to tell stories that will make a difference in the lives of North Texans and improve our community.”
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NBC 5’s investigation exposed a web of corruption, staggering financial mismanagement, hidden personal relationships and conflicts of interest inside Dallas County Schools, a public agency responsible for transporting more than 75,000 school children daily in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The series of reports raised community awareness and highlighted the violation of public trust by officials within Dallas County Schools. Click here to watch KXAS’ series of investigative reports.
“It’s an honor for our hard-working team of journalists to be recognized with such a prestigious award,” said Mark Ginther, NBC 5 Vice President of News. “This series resulted in actions that brought about a total restructuring of the student transportation system in Dallas County to a new model that should be more accountable to the public and safer for students.”
The governor of Texas, state legislature and, eventually voters, acted to shut down the 172-year-old agency over the improprieties revealed by NBC 5 Investigates. An ongoing investigation by the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice and Texas Rangers has resulted in two guilty pleas -- one from a man who admits to funneling $3 million in bribes and kickbacks to Dallas County Schools leadership in exchange for bus camera contracts and another by the former DCS superintendent who says he accepted those same payments.
The NBC 5 Investigates team members reporting on “Big Buses, Bigger Problems: Taxpayers Taken for a Ride” include NBC 5 Senior Investigative Reporter Scott Friedman, Producers Jack Douglas and Eva Parks, Photographer Jose Sanchez, Digital Managing Editor Frank Heinz and Vice President of News Mark Ginther.
On Saturday, May 19, the NBC 5 Investigates journalists will be formally recognized at the Peabody Awards ceremony in New York City. To access the full list of Peabody Awards winners, please click here.