WWL: Coverage of Hurricane Katrina (WWL-TV)
Winner 2005 | WWL-TV
Before the 2005 hurricane season began, WWL-TV aired Eye on Hurricanes 2005. As one in a series of yearly specials planned to remind citizens of New Orleans of the dangers that could accompany a major hurricane in the region, the program emphasized a new evacuation procedure and explored the existing minimal plans developed to assist the elderly, the disabled, and those without vehicles to evacuate the city. Experience with previous storms had led WWL to relocate its transmitter to a position less prone to potential damage or shut-down. As a result of planning and foresight, WWL remained on the air throughout the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina and into its aftermath. Programming was simulcast on radio, streamed on the station’s website, and seen statewide on Louisiana’s public broadcasting channel. For fourteen days, WWL staff stayed on the job despite the fact that many of them lost homes in the storm. Among them were executive news director Sandy Breland, assistant news director Chris Slaughter, special projects producer Mark Swinney, executive producers Mikel Schaefer and Lamar Bourgeois, and assignment editors Gregg Phillips and Logan Banks. Anchors Dennis Woltering, Karen Swensen, Mike Hoss, Eric Paulsen, Sally Ann Roberts, Jennifer Huntley, Shauna Sanford, Lee Zurik, and Lucy Bustamante continued at their desks. Chief meteorologist Carl Arredondo and his associates Brad Panovich and John Gumm provided details. Reporters Dave McNamara, Bill Capo, Mike Ross, Josh McElveen, Jill Hezeau, Ben Lemoine, Bob Green, Jonathan Betz, Thanh Truong, Meg Farris and Stephanie Riegel covered the field, relying on the efforts of photographers Mike Bland, Kevin Breen, Jimmy Brown, Darnel Cunningan, Bob Eutsler, John Gagliano, Garland Gillen, Geoff Hackett, David Joachim, Terry Jones, Brian Lukas, Mike Millon, Tom Moore, Jim Pennison, Larry Schirling, Bob Weaver, and Willie Wilson. Together with the efforts of engineers, producers, associate producers, directors and desk assistants, the entire WWL team provided crucial information and assistance for the larger New Orleans and Gulf Coast communities and exemplified the power and significance of the electronic news industries. For this outstanding service in a time of extraordinary need, a Peabody Award goes to WWL-TV, New Orleans.
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