WBFF/Fox45’s Investigative Unit Exposes Flaws in Baltimore Public School System
BALTIMORE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sinclair Broadcast Group (NASDAQ: SBGI) is pleased to announce Project Baltimore, the special investigative reporting unit of WBFF/Fox 45 News, has been named a finalist for the 2023 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. Project Baltimore’s reporting exposed a massive scheme to inflate enrollment in Baltimore City Schools and promote students who did not meet requirements.
In naming Project Baltimore a finalist, Columbia University said the series “uncovered numbing neglect and corruption in the Baltimore Public School system, including an examination of ‘ghost students,’ absent but still on school rolls, and costing taxpayers millions.”
Founded in 1942, Columbia Journalism School’s duPont-Columbia Awards uphold the highest standards in journalism by honoring winners annually, informing the public about those journalists’ contributions and supporting journalism education and innovation.
Commenting on the honor, Scott Livingston, Senior Vice President of News said, “We’re very proud of the Project Baltimore team and the hard work that went into earning this incredible recognition. This nomination is a tremendous honor that reinforces Sinclair’s commitment to impactful reporting with a local focus.”
In a year-long investigation, Project Baltimore shed light on the failures of the education system that have impacted generations of students, while providing the impetus for lawmakers and community members to finally make it right.
“This series highlighted the devastating impact of a school system failing to properly educate too many children,” said Carolyn Peirce, Executive Producer of Project Baltimore. “We are thankful for the families who came forward to share their stories in hopes of securing a better outcome for future students of Baltimore City.”
The investigation was prompted when a Baltimore City mother, Tiffany France, came forward with stunning information about her son’s education. In four years at Augusta Fells, a Baltimore City high school, he passed just three classes, yet the school was still promoting him through the course levels with a grade point average of only 0.13. Project Baltimore’s investigation uncovered he was one of many failing students passing through the school.
Additionally, Project Baltimore discovered state taxpayers paid nearly $93 million in a single year to educate 6,126 students across the state, whose whereabouts were unknown.
As a result of the investigation, the Maryland State Department of Education announced City Schools may have to pay back as much as $1.6 million that it received in 2019 to educate students who were not in school at Augusta Fells. Maryland’s Comptroller has called for the State to change how it funds public schools and Republican leaders in Annapolis are joining in, introducing legislation this session.
Since its creation in 2017, Project Baltimore’s investigative work has been recognized with dozens of honors, including four first place National Headliner Awards, the SPJ Sigma Delta Chi Award, a National Press Photographers Association First Place award, and three prestigious IRE Awards. Additionally, Project Baltimore has won 27 Regional Emmy Awards, six Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and seven Associated Press Awards.
The winners of the 2023 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards will be announced early next year.
About Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. is a diversified media company and a leading provider of local news and sports. The Company owns, operates and/or provides services to 185 television stations in 86 markets; owns multiple national networks including Tennis Channel and Stadium; has TV stations affiliated with all the major broadcast networks and owns and/or operates 21 regional sports network brands. Sinclair’s content is delivered via multiple platforms, including over-the-air, multi-channel video program distributors, and digital and streaming platforms NewsON and STIRR. The Company regularly uses its website as a key source of Company information which can be accessed at www.sbgi.net.