“Racial Profiling Whitewash”


Recipient of the Best Investigative Report (Television) award in The Charles E. Green Awards (2015)

Brian Collister, Ben Friberg, Joe Ellis, Josh Hinkle & Chad Cross
KXAN-TV, Austin


Judge’s Comments:

This investigation by Brian Collister, along with Ben Friberg, Joe Ellis, Josh Hinkle and Chad Cross is an excellent example of just how an investigation should be conducted and presented. The issue they reported on is significant and important. The issue of profiling is a deep concern to millions of Texans and this investigation will have a direct impact on police practices.

Their investigation went beyond the local community of Austin and its police department to look at the state Department of Public Safety, which has been the center of national debate about profiling. They interviewed not only law enforcement officials but also followed up with community activists and most importantly with legislators who can hold law enforcement accountable.

This series clearly took a lot of hard work to come up with the statistics on the misreporting but also digging up a number of outrageous cases complete with dash cam video and the traffic citations. That’s digging and dedication on the part of the investigative team. Following up by posting the data online was an excellent idea.

The series was written and produced in a way that was clear and understandable. They did a good job of explaining why this issue is so important. Overall an impressive investigation well deserving of this award.

Dow Smith

Dow Smith is now retired after some 40 years in broadcast journalism as a professional and as a teacher. For 13 years he was an Associate Professor in Broadcast Journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. After his career at the Newhouse School he spent three years creating an electronic journalism minor at Siena College in Albany, NY, and a year as a visiting professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia.  

Smith has almost thirty years of experience in broadcast news. After receiving a master’s degree from the University of Missouri in 1969, he began as a producer at KOVR in Sacramento, California and went on to produce at KPIX in San Francisco and WBBM in Chicago. He returned to KPIX in 1973 as executive producer and then did a tour as news assignments manager at what is now KCBS in Los Angeles. Smith became the news director at WPLG in Miami in 1976 where he worked with legendary anchor Ann Bishop and an exceptional reporting and producing staff. Smith went on to be VP News at WJLA in Washington and news director at WDIV in Detroit. He became President and General Manager of WTEN in Albany, New York, in 1987 and later was VP/General Manager of WVTM in Birmingham, Alabama. As a news director, his news departments received two DuPont awards, a Peabody, and numerous Emmy awards, including three for best newscast.

To the prize-winning KXAN-TV investigative team’s entry, play the clip below. 

Racial Profiling Whitewash

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