KVUE took home a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award over the weekend for a special report on the state of mental health care in Texas.
Investigative reporter Andy Pierrotti, executive news director Frank Volpicella and others traveled to New York City to accept the honor.
This is the first time an Austin TV station has won a Peabody Award, according to KVUE.
“To be recognized with the George Foster Peabody Award is affirmation that our work can affect positive change within our community by shedding light on issues of great importance,” KVUE president and general manager Patti Smith said. “It’s one of the highest honors in the broadcasting business to be recognized with this prestigious award and one that will underscore our commitment to excellence as we go forward.”
The 30-minute special, “The Cost of Troubled Minds,” aired in September. It was the result of seven months of digging, Pierrotti said in an interview last year.
“The issues impacting the mentally ill in Texas are mind-blowing,” he said, “and there’s certainly no easy fix.”
Many of those issues are due to repeated budget cuts in past years, the station found.
“The plight of the mentally ill and the lack of resources to care and treat them is a problem not only in Austin, but across the nation,” Volpicella said. “We are grateful that our documentary inspired a state senator to file legislation to address the shortage of mental health workers in Texas. We hope ‘The Cost of Troubled Minds’ will continue to spark legislative action to solve this growing social problem.”
Established in 1940, the Peabody Awards are presented annually by the University of Georgia.