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KXAN-TV wins IRE Award

Texas broadcasters are saluting KXAN-TV Austin for their 2015 award from the Investigative Reporters & Editors group.

The awards recognize outstanding investigative work and help identify the techniques and resources used to complete each story.

The awards will be presented at the 2016 IRE Conference in New Orleans on Saturday, June 18.

The KXAN-TV story uncovered racial profiling in traffic stops by both Texas state troopers and members of the Austin police department.

Read a full description and view the video below (courtesy of


Racial Profiling Whitewash,” KXAN/NBC, Austin, Texas

Brian Collister, Joe Ellis, Ben Friberg, Josh Hinkle and Chad Cross

View this story online

Judge’s comments:  Texas law requires police officers to list the race of each driver pulled over for an apparent traffic violation in order to avoid any pattern of racial profiling. 

In a massive research effort involving 16 million state records of traffic stops going back five years, KXAN discovered and documented that state troopers were dodging any problems by writing down “white” for too many drivers, particularly Hispanics.

The six most popular names of “white” drivers listed as stopped by state police:  Smith, Garcia, Martinez, Hernandez, Gonzalez, and Rodriguez. 

Officials at first tried to blame a flaw in their computer system before acknowledging the obvious.

As a result of the reporting, troopers were ordered to show drivers which race was written on a ticket and give them an opportunity to confirm or correct that information.

KXAN also found the same pattern in the local Austin police department, which also took corrective steps.

View the full list of winners

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