“Border Splurge: Texas’ Billion-Dollar Drug War”


Recipient of the BEST TELEVISION INVESTIGATIVE REPORT award in The Charles E. Green Awards (2016)



Judge’s Comments:

The scouring of the court records produced tangible, important results which was very impressive. It was clear a lot of work, time, and resources were put into investigating the issue. The reporter made an extra effort to talk to the right people, get the right voices into the story; from average citizens to police officers and officials, to policy-makers.

The reporter did an excellent job walking the audience through an important, complex issue. We thought the reporter did a good job in interviewing a narcotics officer to show the drugs are still coming across the border.

Instead of just making this a border drug story – this journalist did a good job of demonstrating it’s a public policy issue, one that all Texas citizens are paying for via tax dollars.

The addition of a round table discussion in the special was also helpful. Overall some outstanding reporting and storytelling.

Judges’ Bios:

Don Heider is the Dean of the School of Communication at Loyola University.  Before beginning a teaching career he served as syndication producer for the Gillett News Bureau in Washington D.C., special projects producer and Manager of Special News for WSMV and WTVF in Nashville, Tenn., and executive producer at WTVC in Chattanooga, Tenn. During his broadcasting career, he has been recognized with five Emmy awards and an Associated Press award.

John Goheen is a Senior Professional in Residence at Loyola University Chicago.  A 12-time Emmy winner, he has spent a long career in television news working for stations such as KMGH-TV in Denver, KOMO-TV in Seattle, and KUTV in Salt Lake City. He has also worked as a free-lance producer and photographer for Dateline NBC, ESPN, the BBC, and 60 Minutes, to name but a few.  Goheen has been honored three times with the most prestigious award a video photojournalist can receive, the National Press Photographer’s Association Television News Photographer of the Year. As an independent filmmaker John has also won a dozen awards from festivals such as the Denver International Film Festival, the Phoenix International Film Festival, and the Santa Fe Film Festival.

Lee Hood is an Associate Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Loyola University Chicago.  During her news career she has worked at half a dozen television stations, including three of four of Denver’s network affiliates. She also has reported for a newspaper and for radio.  Hood has won two Emmys for her work as a television news producer.

Richelle Rogers is an Instructor in the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago and the Program Director for the school’s Master’s Degree in Digital Media and Storytelling.  For more than a decade Ms. Rogers was a producer and writer for ABC Network News working with Ted Koppel, Diane Sawyer, Peter Jennings and Barbara Walters. She was a producer for ABC News Nightline with Ted Koppel and a field producer for ABC News specials in more than a half dozen countries. Other previous producing positions include the Oprah Winfrey Network, CNN and Discovery Network.  Ms. Rogers is the recipient of many distinguished journalism awards for her individual work and team producing/ reporting. Her awards include The Columbia University DuPont Award (ABC News), The David Bloom Award (Presented by the White House) Peabody Award (CNN and ABC News) and the NY Film Festival award (ABC News Documentary Unit).

Ralph Braseth is the Manager of Student Media for the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago.  He spent eight years as a reporter and photographer in local television news.  His work in video documentary garnered him a National Christopher Award and Regional Emmy Award for College Documentary. Braseth is one of the founders of the Center for Innovation in College Media. Previously Braseth worked as Director of Student Media at Ole Miss where he served as publisher/manager of a daily newspaper, a 24/7 FCC-licensed commercial radio station, a daily, live, 30-minute television newscast, a 400-page yearbook, an online news site and various special publications. Ole Miss Student Media established its converged newsroom in 2005. Under his direction, students at Ole Miss gathered more than 100 awards and national recognition.

To read KXAN-TV’s award-winning report, please visit the links below:


Watch an interview with KXAN’s Brian Collister about the development of this story.

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