Winner 2013

NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Questions of Influence


Assessing the practical impact of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s vow to “run state government like a business,” WTVF-TV’s reporters found that the outsourcing of government services in practice looked suspiciously like cronyism. Their year-long investigation, a series of more than three dozen reports capped by an hour-long prime time special, turned up ethical quandaries and instances of no-bid contracts. Among the questionable deals was a $330 million contract to Jones Lang Lasalle, a multinational corporation in which Haslam had been a stockholder. WTVF’s team also found that Haslam, without making the relationship public, was purchasing political advice from a prominent lobbyist whose firm was seeking state permission to mine for coal in a protected wildlife area. The ongoing repercussions of WTVF’s revelations include hearings in the Tennessee legislature, a state audit and reassessment of millions of dollars in state contracts. For its deep, determined exploration of the realities of what Tennessee’s governor called a “sea change” in the way the state was run, NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Questions of Influence receives a Peabody Award.


Chief Investigative Reporter: Phil Williams. Investigative Reporter: Ben Hall. Producer: Kevin Wisniewski. Photojournalists: Bryan Staples, Iain Montgomery. News Director: Sandy Boonstra. Assistant News Director: Michelle Bonnett.