AUSTIN (KXAN) — The KXAN Investigates staff won two national awards this past month from the National Headliner Awards.

The National Headliner Awards has been around since the 1930s and was founded by the Press Club of Atlantic City. According to its website, the awards program is “one of the oldest and largest annual contests recognizing journalistic merit in the communications industry.”

The Risky Rides investigative series from reporter Matt Grant and photojournalist Richie Bowes took first place in the “broadcast or cable television stations investigative reporting” category. This series brings to light the ways criminals utilize and create fraudulent temporary Texas tags to fly under the radar. The reports have led to state lawmakers taking a closer look at the issue and law enforcement changing the way it trains personnel.

The Risky Rides paper license problem reveals an in-depth look at temporary tags to cover up crimes. Excellent dig into an underground problem that allows fugitives to remain in plain sight. The business of these tags cannot be understated and this team of journalists had the tools to discern and sort through the massive paperwork. Graphics were exceptional and the segment had solid storytelling and issues that affect the community

Judges’ comments

“Plan C Pills: The Debate Over Safety & Access” from reporter Kelly Wiley and photojournalist Richie Bowes won third place in the “broadcast or cable television stations health/science reporting” category.

This report came a little over a month after one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws went into effect in Texas. More people began turning to online pharmacies for access to abortion medication. State leaders then passed more legislation trying to stop pills from being sent through the mail.

These awards marked the 23rd and 24th national honor the KXAN Investigates staff has earned since 2016.