By Daisy Whitney
In addition to the 11 Silver Baton TV winners, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards recognized three other television entries as finalists this year.
Among them is LIN-owned CBS station WISH-TV in Indianapolis, one of the first stations in the country to begin reporting on possible problems with electronic voting in the 2004 presidential election. The series started in February 2004 as the station began testing voting machines, said Kevin Finch, assistant news director at WISH.
“The most frightening part, once we got into it, was there was no paper trail. If you just touched a screen, there’s no piece of paper to verify how you voted. There is nothing to recount,” he said.
While many news organizations reported on possible flaws in electronic voting last year, Mr. Finch thinks WISH was singled out because the coverage began so early and continued up to the election.
The “Crash of Flight 111” received a finalist accolade shared by PBS’s WGBH-TV in Boston, its science show “Nova” and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. The documentary investigates how crash detectives pieced together over more than four years the cause of the 1998 crash of Swissair Flight 111 into St. Margaret’s Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada. “Nova” was given access to the aviation investigations, which cost nearly $40 million. In March 2003 the Canadian Transportation Safety Board made 23 recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration to improve flight safety, but the FAA has not approved most of those measures.
Another finalist was the Independent Television Service and Tracy Droz Tragos for “Be Good, Smile Pretty” on PBS, a personal documentary that details Ms. Droz Tragos’ struggle to know and grieve for her father, Donald Droz, a Swift Boat comrade of John Kerry’s who died in Vietnam when she was a baby. The documentary was described by the Los Angeles Times as a “powerful statement against war.”