AUSTIN, Texas (June 23, 2020) – KXAN-TV, the NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group, Inc. serving Austin, TX (DMA #40), announced today that its team of journalists won the Headliners Foundation of Texas Showcase Silver Award for Bargaining the Badge, a statewide investigative report that uncovered a pattern of law enforcement officers using their badges as bargaining tools to avoid prosecution for criminal offenses.  The investigative team found that officers who agreed to surrender their badges received little or no jail time for offenses, including sexual assault of children and women in custody, taking bribes and dealing narcotics to prisoners, lying about the circumstances of a police shooting and destroying evidence in criminal cases.

“We are extremely honored to have been recognized by the Headliners Foundation of Texas for our investigative work on Bargaining the Badge,” said KXAN Vice President and General Manager Eric Lassberg. “Our focus on investigative journalism is a top priority at KXAN which, in our view, is driven by the need for improving awareness of key community issues.”

The Showcase Awards for Enterprise and Innovation in Journalism program is the only statewide competition for Texas-based news media that judges entries across all platforms, digital, broadcast, magazine and newspaper, on their significant impact on government, public policy or the conduct of a business, nonprofit or other organization.

“We appreciate the recognition for this investigative story at a time when the issue of law enforcement accountability is more magnified than ever,” said KXAN News Director Chad Cross. 

The Headliners Foundation of Texas presents the awards annually to recognize the best journalism in Texas. KXAN competed against various media outlets across the state including news stations in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. This year there were 57 entries into the competition and judges were made up of veteran journalism educators and editors who awarded only four media organizations the top prizes.