King 5 TV SeattleThe George Foster Peabody Awards were announced this morning and a KING 5 Investigation is among the winners for Excellence in Broadcasting.

“Hanford’s Dirty Secrets” is the result of a 10 month investigation by KING 5 Reporter, Susannah Frame; Photojournalist, Steve Douglas; and Executive Producer, Russ Walker that exposed mismanagement, wasted tax dollars, and a cover-up by both government officials and private contractors at the country’s most contaminated site.

The most complex environmental cleanup in human history is currently underway at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State.  KING 5’s investigation focused on the most serious leak of nuclear waste ever seen from an underground tank at Hanford.  “Hanford’s Dirty Secrets” exposed the government contractor in charge of the tanks, who ignored scientific evidence that the cancer-causing materials were escaping from the tank for nearly a year.  During that time, the company wasted millions of tax dollars by continuing to work on a project rendered useless by the fact the tank was leaking, and along with the US government, misled the public about the leaking waste.

Results from the investigation were swift and meaningful.  The Governor and the Dept. of Energy called for investigations, the president of the company at the center of the investigation abruptly resigned without explanation, a safety committee was formed to deal with the crisis and a state lawmaker is sponsoring an initiative to change public policy.

“It is great recognition for the dedication and commitment they each made to dig into this story. The piles of documents, numerous interviews and long drives were hurdles which a lot of people would have shied away from…not these three.” Mark Ginther, KING 5 Executive News Director

Ginther went on to thank the KING 5 News Staff as a whole, whose daily commitment to journalistic excellence supports the effort of our Investigative Unit.

The Peabody awards will be formally presented May 19 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

About the George Foster Peabody Awards:

The George Foster Peabody Awards (Peabody Awards) program recognizes distinguished and meritorious public service by radio and television stations, networks, producing organizations, and individuals.  They are presented each year by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

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