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Strong Showing by Local TV Journalists in DuPont Awards

NOAH Housing Program Investigation

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A tip from a community activist led to WWL-TV’s 50-part investigation into post-Hurricane Katrina corruption in a government program that was meant to help poor and elderly residents with housing renovation but may have instead funneled money to contractors who never did the work, anchor and reporter Lee Zurik told TVWeek last spring, when the series won a Peabody award. Ignoring pressure from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to stop reporting, the team also turned up evidence that contractors working for the New Orleans Affordable Homeownership program, or NOAH, had ties to the agency’s head and a relative of the mayor’s. The reports triggered investigations by the FBI, the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development, the New Orleans Inspector General and a federal grand jury, which are ongoing, said Dominic Massa, WWL’s executive producer for special projects. Zurik has since left WWL for rival WVUE-TV, where he won’t be on the air until spring.
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