In this outstanding report, the WTHR-TV 13 Investigates team exposes a local watchdog agency for not doing its job. Diligent reporting and excellent use of visuals help tell the story of how Indiana’s Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP) provided an easy way for some companies to shirk their duties to clean up sites leaking poison into groundwater in residential areas. Tipped by a whistleblower, reporter Sandra Chapman and team meticulously combed through documents that revealed decades of lax oversight by the state’s Department of Environmental Management, essentially a shell organization designed to shield polluters from the consequences of their acts. Meanwhile, neighborhoods became more toxic as carcinogens continued to spread. Clear explanations of the science of contamination reveal how the problems came to be, and how some companies continued to flaunt regulations even after being made aware of the facts. For solid reporting that exposed significant problems and served as a catalyst for change within an agency meant to protect the environment and community, a Peabody Award goes to Dangerous Exposure.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Producers: Sandra Chapman (Investigative Reporter), Susan Batt (Investigative Producer). Talent: Sandra Chapman. Photojournalists: Ryan Thedwall, William C. Ditton. Executive Producer/ News Director: Kathy Hostetter.