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Gray Stations Honored by IRE Awards for Outstanding Investigative Journalism

Atlanta, June 24, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) awarded three Gray Television, Inc. (“Gray”) (NYSE: GTN) stations for outstanding watchdog journalism.   The IRE annual ceremony on Saturday, June 22 saluted the best investigative journalism across broadcast, print, and online media.

WSMV in Nashville, Tennessee won Video Division III for “The Thin Blurred Line.”  The series of stories by WSMV4 Investigates exposed how unlicensed civilians were able to wear badges, carry guns, and falsely present themselves as police officers.  The team’s findings included convicted felons allowed to dress as police officers.  Six state investigations are actively pending following the airing of the stories.  The judges’ comments praised how WSMV’s “diligent and direct work made an impact.”

WLBT in Jackson, Mississippi won Video Division IV for “Side Hustle.”   The investigation found substantial evidence that a local mayor and police chief could be committing time sheet fraud and getting paid for work they were not doing in other taxpayer-funded jobs.   Over the course of the investigation spanning more than a year, the mayor resigned.   Days after the piece aired, the police chief resigned.   The state auditor’s office opened an investigation into both men, specifically focusing on areas first exposed by WLBT’s reporting.   The judges noted how WLBT “relied on meticulous documentation and spun their findings into a compelling story that got results.” 

WANF in Atlanta, Georgia was a finalist in Video Division II for “In Plane Sight.” The Atlanta News First investigation exposed how plainclothes Drug Enforcement Agents searched innocent passengers at airport gates across the US, looking for cash and keeping the money they seized. In their comments, judges pointed out how WANF’s “ground tactics coupled with the reporter’s success in revealing redacted data on public records led to congressional action aimed at changing DEA authority and practice.”   WANF also recently received the Large Market Television Station Award at the Celebration of Service to America awards for the series.

“Impactful investigative journalism that generates results is a core component of Gray’s commitment to the communities we serve,” Gray’s Chief Operating Officer Sandy Breland said.   “We are proud of our news teams’ relentless pursuit of the truth and honored by these awards for their remarkable work.”

“This is why we invest in training our investigators. Gray brought more journalists to the IRE Conference than any other group because this is the work that makes a difference to our audiences,” Gray’s Senior Vice President, News Strategy and Innovation Lee Zurik said.
About Gray:

Gray Television, Inc. is a multimedia company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Gray is the nation’s largest owner of top-rated local television stations and digital assets. Its television stations serve 114 television markets that collectively reach approximately 36 percent of US television households.   This portfolio includes 79 markets with the top-rated television station and 102 markets with the first and/or second highest rated television station. Gray also owns video program companies Raycom Sports, Tupelo Media Group, and PowerNation Studios, as well as the studio production facilities Assembly Atlanta and Third Rail Studios.   Gray owns a majority interest in Swirl Films.   For more information, please visit

Gray Contact:

Sandy Breland, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, 404-266-8333

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