ABC News/Brian Ross Investigates: Conduct Unbecoming (ABC)
When news organizations began to receive complaints from former Congressional pages about sexually inappropriate e-mails and instant messages sent to them by Rep. Mark Foley, reporters had difficulty authenticating them. Brian Ross and his investigative team at ABC News met the challenge, verifying the messages through traditional news-gathering means, then posting their documentation online at ABC News’ blog The Blotter. In the following 24 hours, Ross’ team received scores more messages, even more explicit, from other pages whom Foley had e-mailed. Within an hour, Foley’s office returned Ross’ phone call to inform him of the Congressman’s resignation. The scandal sent shockwaves through Washington, causing a full-scale investigation of Foley’s actions as well as the Republican House leadership. Ross broke the story just two months before the mid-term elections in which Republicans narrowly lost control of both chambers of Congress. For using new media to augment investigative reporting and for persistency in pursuing a story through to the end, ABC News’ Conduct Unbecoming reports receive a Peabody Award.
Executive producers: Jon Banner, James Goldston, Michael Clemente. Producers: Rhonda Schwartz, Madeleine Sauer, Richard Esposito, David Scott, Simon Surowicz, Len Tepper, Vic Walter. Writer/Reporter: Brian Ross.
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