June 19, 2018, San Francisco, CA — The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced today that KQED is the recipient of a National 2018 Edward R. Murrow Award. KQED reporter Sukey Lewis’s three part radio series, Predatory Bail Schemes in Santa Clara Jails, was honored in this year’s Large Market Radio category. The Edward R. Murrow awards recognize the best electronic journalism produced by radio, television and digital news organizations around the world.
Lewis’s reporting explores the unprecedented arrest of 31 California-based bail bond agents. Through court records and interviews with inmates, district attorneys, correctional officers and others, Lewis exposes a system of “bail capping,” whereby county inmates steered or coerced newly arrested inmates towards certain bail agents in return for money, favors or access. Further, she found that the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department was aware of the problem, but failed to stop it. The series was edited by Mia Zuckerkandel and supervised by Tyche Hendricks. The story also aired nationally on Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting.
“This award recognizes the power and importance of watchdog journalism that exposes corruption, wrong-doing and the exploitation of vulnerable populations,” says Holly Kernan, vice president, KQED News. “I hope people begin to understand how critical journalism is to a functioning democracy in this time where journalism and journalists are under sustained attacks.”
KQED also received a Regional Award in the same category for The California Report’s profile of three refugees and their distinct paths to California. The piece was produced by Sasha Khokha, Laura Klivans, Suzie Racho, Ryan Levi, Victoria Mauleon, and Carrie Feibel.
The national winners will be officially honored at the Edward R. Murrow Gala in New York on October 22. A complete list of the 2018 National and Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards winners can be found at rtdna.org.