Winner 2009

Chronicle: Paul’s Gift


Rarely have the details of this most intimate of procedures—organ donation—been presented so clearly, so precisely and in such a compassionate manner. WYFF in Greenville,South Carolina, had planned for this special for months. The background for the program, the untimely death of 39-year-old Paul Savitz, is thoroughly explained. Previously identified potential organ recipients waited in cities, even states, far from the central location. Then, with the full cooperation of Paul’s family, viewers are with family members at the moment of his death. We see expressions of grief, but we are also informed of the precise manner in which “brain death” is determined. We are present for the surgery to remove the man’s organs, but the focus is on technique, evaluation and the reverential commitment and professional skill of doctors, nurses and counselors. The use of Paul’s organs does present some recipients with the gift of extended life, but others must wait, hoping for donors as generous as Paul and his family. Nothing in this program would lead viewers to turn away. Indeed, much could lead them to make a decision granting donation of their own organs should events make that possible. In the weeks following the airing of this program, 553 individuals did make that decision, citing Chronicle: Paul’s Gift as their motivation, making it surely worthy of a Peabody Award.


Executive Producers: Lee Brown, Justin Antoniotti. Producer: Jennifer Mihalic. Producer/Reporter: Carol Goldsmith. Reporter: Jane Robelot. Director: Grayson Dove. Director of Photography: John Hendon. Photographers: Don Jackson, Scott Enright, Nick Gosnell. Design Director: Jeff Goodman.