The Better Government Association and the Center on Wrongful Convictions won a prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for the June 2011 investigation into the "High Costs of Wrongful Convictions", a groundbreaking series documenting the human and financial toll of alleged government and police misconduct that led to 85 people being wrongfully incarcerated for violent crimes they didn’t commit.
The BGA & CWC won the Murrow regional award for website coverage in the Online News Operation category for Region 7, which included awards to major TV, radio and Internet news operations throughout the Midwest. The award is named for the legendary CBS network broadcaster.
"The BGA is thrilled to receive the Edward R. Murrow award," says Andy Shaw, CEO and president of the BGA. "It’s especially gratifying because Murrow fought against injustice his whole career and the "High Costs of Wrongful Convictions" did a tremendous job of shining a light on the those in law enforcement who got it wrong and caused so many families to suffer unnecessarily. It also stuck taxpayers with a bill in excess of $200 million."
The "High Costs of Wrongful Convictions" was co-written by John Conroy, a former BGA senior investigator, and Rob Warden, executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The BGA’s web presentation was designed and created by BGA digital consultant Solomon Lieberman. Other contributors to the project include: Robert Reed, Robert Herguth, Samuel Cuomo, Jessica Curry, James Edwards, Emily Jurlina, Mary Frances O’Connor, Kathryn Chimienti, Sophia Bairaktaris, Tania Karas, Gregory Pratt, Diana Novak, Taniesha Robinson, Dolores Kennedy, Ron Fredrickson, Jennifer Linzer, Tom Severson, Pancho Nagel and Adam Verwymeren Design.
Based on the investigation's findings, the BGA's policy unit produced a series of recommended reforms, many of which are being considered by state lawmakers as a basis for legislation.
"Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession," said the Radio Television Digital News Association, which has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Murrow Awards since 1971.