Matt Rist can cover anything. He is just the sort of reporter a small market station needs every day to cover a wide range of stories from tragedy to utility rate hikes.
KOSA allows Matt to go beyond the obvious announcements and events to drill down on stories. Matt found that consumer level electric rate payers saw their power bills double while industrial users, including oil fields, got a big rate cut.
What’s more, he discovered, through FOIA filings, that the state’s Office of Public Utility Counsel, the very office that is supposed to be looking out after consumers, didn’t speak up when the rate hike was before the Public Utility Commission. The OPUC couldn’t say why it didn’t speak up and Matt pressed lawmakers and Commissioners for promises that they would be more responsive, but he got no promises.
Matt covers such a wide range of stories that he also explored the history and influence of Narcocorridos music. The genre is not new, but it is violent and some say glamorizes drug trafficking and violence. The story explores one band that sings songs about “bazookas” and “cutting heads.” The music videos are laced with guns and shooting scenes. The music attracts huge concert crowds who know the tunes word for word. The story does a great job explaining not judging the music. We hear from the musicians and concerned parents and even government officials who warn against allowing children listen to the music. If you lived in West Texas, you would have to know about this story. Matt would have made you smarter.
Director, The Poynter Institute for Media Studies
St. Petersburg, Florida
Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. For almost 10 years, thousands of people a day read his online journalism story idea column “Al’s Morning Meeting” on Poynter.org. Tompkins joined Poynter’s faculty from his job as news director at WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tenn. For 24 years, he worked as a photojournalist, reporter, producer, anchor, assistant news director, special projects/investigations director, documentary producer and news director.
To see excerpts of Matt Rist’s prize-winning work, please play the clip below: