Sinclair Broadcast Group’s “Project Baltimore” Wins Prestigious IRE Award
WBFF/Fox45’s Investigative Unit Exposes Flaws in Baltimore Public School System
Fourth Consecutive IRE Awarded to Sinclair
KUTV CBS2 in Salt Lake Named a Finalist
Sinclair Broadcast Group (NASDAQ: SBGI) is pleased to announce Project Baltimore, the special investigative reporting unit of WBFF/Fox 45 News, was honored by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) for its reporting on Baltimore’s public school system, exposing ghost students and an alarming number of students with a failing GPA advancing through course levels.
This is the third time Project Baltimore has been honored with an IRE Award, and the fourth consecutive year a Sinclair newsroom is being honored.
In addition, KUTV in Salt Lake was an IRE finalist for their investigation into the systematic failures within Utah’s probation and parole system.
Established in 1979, the annual IRE Awards recognize outstanding investigative reporting from newsrooms across the globe, with contest entries screened and judged by IRE members who are working journalists.
Commenting on the honor, Scott Livingston, Senior Vice President of News said, “Asking questions, digging deeper, holding officials accountable and being a voice for the voiceless members of our community is at the core of what we do in our newsrooms. This recognition from our peers is a tremendous honor that reinforces Sinclair’s commitment to impactful reporting with a local focus.”
In a year-long investigation, Project Baltimore shed light on the failures of the education system that have impacted generations of students, while providing the impetus for lawmakers and community members to finally make it right.
The investigation was prompted when a Baltimore City mother, Tiffany France, came forward with stunning information about her son’s education. In four years at Augusta Fells, a Baltimore City high school, he passed just three classes, yet the school was still promoting him through the course levels with a grade point average of only 0.13. Project Baltimore’s investigation uncovered he was one of many failing students passing through the school.
Additionally, Project Baltimore discovered state taxpayers paid nearly $93 million in a single year to educate 6,126 students whose whereabouts were unknown.
As a result of the investigation, the Maryland State Department of Education announced City Schools may have to pay back as much as $1.6 million that it received in 2019 to educate students who were not in school at Augusta Fells. Maryland’s Comptroller, who is the Democratic front-runner for Governor in 2022, is now calling for Maryland to change how it funds public schools and Republican leaders in Annapolis are joining in, introducing legislation this session.
Since its creation in 2017, Project Baltimore’s investigative work has been recognized with dozens of honors, including three National Headliner Awards, the SPJ Sigma Delta Chi Award, a National Press Photographers Association First Place award, and three prestigious IRE Awards. Additionally, Project Baltimore has won 21 Regional Emmy Awards, four Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and six Associated Press Awards.
In addition, KUTV CBS2 in Salt Lake was named a finalist in the IRE competition for their investigation into the systematic failures within Utah’s probation and parole system. KUTV reported parole officials lost track of more than 300 parolees every month and agents falsely marked office visits “successful” even when the parolee failed to show up. Their investigation triggered the enactment of a new law that requires an immediate hold on any parolees accused of a new crime. It also led to a legislative audit of the Board of Pardons and Parole by Utah’s legislative auditor general.
About Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. is a diversified media company and a leading provider of local sports and news. The Company owns and/or operates 21 regional sports network brands; owns, operates and/or provides services to 185 television stations in 86 markets, owns multiple national networks including Tennis Channel and Stadium; and has TV stations affiliated with all the major broadcast networks. Sinclair’s content is delivered via multiple platforms, including over-the-air, multi-channel video program distributors, and digital and streaming platforms NewsON and STIRR. The Company regularly uses its website as a key source of Company information which can be accessed at www.sbgi.net.