Winner 2006

Prescription Privacy/Cause for Alarm


Excellent local broadcast news has been recognized by the Peabody Awards since their inception. This year, WTHR-TV in Indianapolis maintains that tradition with a pair of enterprising investigations that led to calls for action not only in its local market but also nationwide. Prescription Privacy began after an elderly woman was robbed of her pain pills by a drug addict who had found her personal health records in the trash behind her pharmacy. Reporter Bob Segall began a series of reports in which he dug through drug store dumpsters across the city—and later across the nation—to discover what customer information was being discarded rather than disposed of properly. He found the prescriptions, private records and personal information of hundreds of people. His accounts triggered nationwide reporting on the issue and commitments to change from major pharmacies. In Cause for Alarm, WTHR reporters and meteorologists investigated the condition and placement of each of the 350 tornado sirens in central Indiana. They found that sirens sometimes failed to activate, that many were beyond repair, and that nearly 200,000 people lived in areas where no sirens were audible. Communities in metro Indianapolis subsequently approved $7.5 million to upgrade their severe warning systems. For their impact on the privacy and safety of citizens though precise and careful investigations and for demonstrating continuing commitment to excellence in local reporting, Prescription Privacy and Cause For Alarm jointly receive a Peabody Award.


Executive producer: Holly Stephen. Producers: Gerry Lanosga, Bill Ditton, Bob Segall. News Director: Jacques Natz. Reporter: Bob Segall. Photographers: Bill Ditton, Jim Hall. Editor: Bill Ditton.