AUSTIN, Texas (June 1, 2020) – KXAN-TV, the NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group, Inc. serving Austin, TX (DMA #40), has been named a finalist for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Leadership Foundation’s Celebration of Service to America awards, recognizing outstanding community service by local broadcasters. KXAN is recognized for a multi-platform project called Save Our Students (S.O.S.), exploring solutions for the wellness and safety of youth.  KXAN’s journalists searched around Texas and across the country for innovative and proactive efforts to address issues happening inside schools, such as student suicide and violence.

“The S.O.S. project is the epitome of KXAN’s core purpose of enriching the community,” said KXAN Vice-President and General Manager Eric Lassberg. “The project not only informed our audience on a critical issue, but also sparked positive conversation and action in the community.”

The S.O.S. project includes multiple stories about safety initiatives and threat assessments, as well as interviews with mental health experts, law enforcement and school district administrators.  Additionally, to encourage community dialogue, KXAN’s journalists held town halls featuring local education and mental health experts at an area school and Boys and Girls Club location. In one livestream interview, teenagers spoke candidly to reporters about mental health challenges at their schools.  KXAN’s news team also set up mobile newsrooms at multiple public events where news anchors and reporters engaged with people to hear their challenges, concerns and ideas. A custom designed website also provides resources to the public for help with mental illness, suicide and bullying.    

“In a phase when we were reporting on more and more acts of violence inside our schools, our entire staff knew this project was an important, timely service to our community,” said KXAN News Director Chad Cross. “We aimed to look at the root of that violence and how it could perhaps be prevented with proactive efforts and sharing of ideas.”

KXAN is a finalist in the large market category.  The NAB Leadership Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the future of broadcasting through leadership, diversity and community service. KXAN is a finalist in the large market television category. One winner from each category will be announced in August.

“America’s radio and television stations’ dedication to public service shines brightly in local communities every day, and continually ensures the safety and well-being of viewers and listeners,” said NAB Leadership Foundation President Michelle Duke. “We look forward to celebrating broadcasters who have gone above and beyond to serve communities and families in need, and we are thrilled to honor broadcasters’ service with audiences across the country.”