NBC10 Investigators Earn SPJ Award for Schools Failing Fire Drills Series

A national group has awarded the NBC10 Investigators' work exposing failing grades for fire drills at Philadelphia schools.

The Society for Professional Journalists named Mitch Blacher’s "Failing at Fire Drills" series as the 2016 Sigma Delta Chi Awards winner for investigative reporting at a large-market station. [[380059011, C]]

"Teamwork, perseverance and demanding accountability were paramount in doing this kind of reporting," Mitch said while calling the recognition "an extreme honor." [[380868141, C]]

Producer Jim O’Donnell and photojournalists Dan Lee and Charlie Wellock joined Mitch in the acknowledgment but the report also received support from more members of the investigative team. [[390258881, C]]

"While this is a team win, the bulk of the work was done by Mitch Blacher, Charlie Wellock, Dan Lee, Katie Suiters, Zinnia Maldonado and the leader of the team Jim O’Donnell," said NBC10 vice president of news Anzio Williams. [[397181041, C]]

The series searched for answers from school leaders about why some schools in Philadelphia weren’t following the fire code and holding potentially life-saving drills. [[390661891, C]]

"You may recall Mitch Blacher asking tough questions of Philly School Superintendent William Hite that led to the school system changes," Williams said. [[399383191, C]]

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