Winner 1983

Asylum in the Streets


A generation ago, Edward R. Murrow set the standard for television documentaries: well-researched, deeply personalized reports which struck a responsive chord in the hearts of a normally apathetic viewing public. Following in the tradition of Ed Murrow, WNBC-TV’s Asylum In The Streets looked at the human cost of expediency, in this case the policy of de-institutionalization which has turned thousands of homeless, mentally ill people out of state facilities into the city’s streets. By interviewing commissioners, mental health experts, politicians, and the homeless themselves, reporter Gabe Pressman presented a strong case that the de-institutionalization policy has failed and has created a new underclass in New York. For investigative reporting of the highest calibre, a Peabody to WNBC-TV’s Asylum in the Streets.