Local TEGNA stations are focusing on in-depth investigations. Reporter Jeremy Campbell led NBC affiliate WXIA-TV Atlanta on “Charlie Foxtrot,” a five-part series showing that veterans are denied benefits after being less-than-honorably discharged when they should be offered treatment for PTSD. WXIA posted the series online before broadcasting it on Veteran’s Day, and provided it to other stations with tips on localizing the story. WXIA and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chair Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) hosted a viewing and panel discussion on Capitol Hill. WXIA also got 12,000 people to sign a petition urging Congress to pass the Fairness for Veterans bill, requiring the military to consider PTSD or traumatic brain injury in discharge decisions. The bill passed.
Other examples of long-form investigative journalism include Campbell’s four-part series on heroin overdoses in Atlanta’s wealthy suburbs, which generated four million views online in one week. The follow-up on-air special was one of WXIA’s most-watched specials in recent years. Investigative reporter Noah Pransky at CBS affiliate WTSP Tampa wrote a 6,000-word story to accompany his five-minute television story on one PR consultant’s influence on local politics. CBS affiliate KHOU-TV Houston investigated police body cameras. Through an initiative at ABC affiliate WFAA Dallas, citizens join a reporter to conduct interviews to help them better understand journalism.