WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 1, 2014) – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is proud to announce that Devin Fehely, Reporter, WXIA-TV/11 Alive News has been chosen as the recipient of the 2014 Gannett Foundation Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism. Fehely will be honored during NABJ's 39th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Boston.
The $5,000 award, funded by a grant from the Gannett Foundation, recognizes groundbreaking journalists in their quest to help communities understand and address important issues through creativity and the use of digital tools.
Fehely’s report for Atlanta’s NBC affiliate "Black & Blue: The Color of Injustice" centered on the case of Nathan Christopher Dwight who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for a carjacking and armed robbery he continually insisted that he did not commit. Dwight spent more than 800 hundred days behind bars before his release.
“The Gannett Foundation Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism is an important way in which we recognize the importance and continued relevancy of investigative journalism,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “Fehely’s reporting was courageous in that it took racial bias head on. His work showcased the reality that investigative journalism, watchdog journalism, holding government accountable, makes our society much better.”
The National Registry of Exonerations highlights the story produced by Fehely and WXIA which focused on the videotaped interrogation conducted on the day of Dwight's arrest and showed that the investigation which left him imprisoned may have been tainted by racial bias. Outrage sparked by the videotape’s release sparked an inquiry into the background and track record of the detective who handled Dwight’s interrogation. Later, DNA evidence eventually convinced a judge to overturn his conviction and life sentence.
Fehely’s report also earned him a 2014 Emmy Award. The report can be viewed here.
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide.