AUSTIN, Texas (June 21, 2020) – KXAN-TV, the NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group, Inc. serving Austin, TX (DMA #40), announced today that its team of journalists has been selected by Mental Health America (MHA) to receive its 2020 Media Award for Save our Students (S.O.S.), a multi-platform project 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. Many of the solutions uncovered by KXAN’s journalists focused on new techniques to address mental health and wellness. Each year, MHA recognizes journalists, media outlets, authors, and television and film programs who excel in their coverage and portrayal of mental health issues in news and entertainment media.
“It is truly an honor to receive this award from Mental Health America, a great non-profit focused on one of society’s biggest current and growing needs,” Said KXAN Vice President and General Manager Eric Lassberg. “I would also like to recognize Solutions Journalism Network, which helped us along the way with a unique journalistic approach for our Save Our Students project.”
The Solutions Journalism Network, an independent, non-profit organization, provides training to journalists on reporting about solutions to a problem, assessing in detail how effective that solution is and whether it could be effective applied elsewhere.
KXAN’s S.O.S project included interviews with mental health experts, law enforcement and school district administrators along with local town halls designed to create a dialogue between community members and mental health experts. A custom-designed website also provided resources to the public for help with mental illness, suicide and bullying.
“We respect and appreciate the professionals and experts who focus on mental health, and it’s a special honor they’re highlighting our S.O.S. project,” said KXAN News Director Chad Cross.
MHA recognizes journalists, authors and media outlets that represent accurate and trustworthy coverage. KXAN is one of only six national recipients of this prestigious award. “Accurate and responsible coverage is critical in breaking down stereotypes and stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use,” said Mental Health America President and CEO Paul Gionfriddo. “Original, thought-provoking journalism and entertainment not only work to raise general awareness and shape public opinion, but help all people live mentally healthier lives…”