Charity Caught on Camera
Investigative journalism at the local level takes dedicated reporters and supportive management—something of a novelty in the era of fast-food news. WTHR-TV in Indianapolis provides an excellent example of why such commitment matters in communities today. In this story, an investigative team uncovered layers of mismanagement and corruption at a local charity after receiving an anonymous tip. Initial findings revealed numerous violations of health and safety codes at the Grant County Rescue Mission, including filthy conditions at its homeless shelter, where men slept in bunks infested with bed bugs. The report also documents the discovery of tons of donations, including clothing, toys and food, rotting away in storage. But the real scandal occurred after the mission’s pastor was caught on camera openly taking donated food and other goods for his personal use and that of family and friends. His nonchalance about the ethics of these actions during an interview with reporter Bob Segall is especially infuriating. The reports shook the community, sparking outrage, hurt, and mistrust. Further probing into the financial management of the mission’s $7 million coffers eventually led to the resignations of top leadership and prompted a separate investigation by the state’s attorney general. In the end, WTHR’s investigation resulted in a massive overhaul of the charity, which adopted new policies to improve oversight, transparency, and accountability. For its tenacious commitment to a story of corruption in a small town that led to significant responses at local and state levels, Charity Caught on Camera wins a Peabody Award.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Executive Producers: Bob Segall, Bill Ditton. Producers: Cyndee Hebert, Susan Batt. Reporter/Writer: Bob Segall. Photojournalist/Editor: Bill Ditton. Digital Content Director: Scott Hums. Graphic Directors: Steve Wolfe, Amy Ramirez. News Director: Kathy Hostetter.