“WMAQ’s relentless, unrivaled reporting brought to light a host of police procedural infractions, official disinformation and outright lies, and contributed to a police department shakeup,” the judging committee said in announcing the award.
Considered among the highest honors in broadcast journalism and administered by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the 75th annual Peabody Awards will be presented May 21 in New York.
All owe a debt to the seminal work of independent journalist Jamie Kalven in bringing the McDonald story to light and independent journalist Brandon Smith in fighting for release of the police dashcam video showing McDonald being fatally shot in October 2014.
But six months before the video was released and Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder, NBC 5 had launched its own investigation into the case, uncovering several significant aspects of the story.
“I think we always knew that this had the potential to be a huge investigation and a national story,” said NBC 5 political editor and investigative reporter Carol Marin. “Anytime you’ve got a young African American man on camera being shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer as he moves away from — not towards — the officer, there is a serious issue. And this nation was already confronting plenty of these kinds of stories in Ferguson, Missouri, and other places.”
Frank Whittaker, vice president of news and station manager at NBC 5, cited the lead reporting of Marin, Don Moseley and Rich Moy on the story. “Their work and our team’s ongoing commitment to investigative journalism will continue to report the most important stories in our community,” Whittaker said. “On behalf of the entire station, we are honored and grateful for this prestigious recognition.”
This year’s honor marks the third time Marin has won a Peabody Award. In 1997 she was cited for her body of work, and in 1998 she and Moseley were recognized for their documentary on the facially disfigured.