CBS RADIO’s KCBS Radio in San Francisco has been honored with a special finalist citation by the 2016 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards for reporter Doug Sovern’s “Unholy Water,” a series of investigative reports that exposed the San Francisco Archdiocese’s installation of an illegal plumbing system at St. Mary’s Cathedral, to pour water on homeless people at night to keep them from sleeping in the cathedral doorways, in the middle of the worst drought in California history. The honor will be recognized at a ceremony hosted by veteran newsman Tom Brokaw at Columbia’s Low Library on Jan. 19, 2016.
As a result of Sovern’s reporting, San Francisco officials ordered the system removed, the Bishop responsible issued a public apology and was transferred to another parish, and the archdiocese launched a new initiative to help the City address homelessness. The story made international headlines.
“All of us at KCBS are honored and grateful for this wonderful recognition by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism,” said Doug Harvill, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, CBS RADIO San Francisco. “Doug’s longstanding credibility as a trustworthy and informed journalist enables him to find the meaningful stories that impact the San Francisco Bay Area. We all benefit from Doug’s reporting prowess and are proud to have him as a member of the KCBS newsroom team.”
For more than 70 years, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards have recognized excellence in broadcast, digital and documentary journalism. Regarded today as one of the most prestigious journalism prizes, the duPont-Columbia Awards were established in 1942 by Jessie Ball duPont in memory of her husband.
The duPont Jury honored “Unholy Water” with a Special Finalist Citation, calling Sovern’s work an unvarnished series of investigative reports, with creative use of sound. With clear and direct writing, Sovern used restraint to describe an outrageous situation. It is only the second time in the long history of the awards that the jury has chosen to honor an entry with this special citation.
Sovern just marked his 25th anniversary as a reporter at KCBS. He has won more than 200 awards, including ten National Headliner Awards, six Edward R. Murrow Awards, seven Sigma Delta Chi awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, and many more. He will join this year’s other honorees in the duPont Winners’ Circle, an interdisciplinary forum for Journalism School students on Jan. 20, 2016.
KCBS is the San Francisco Bay Area’s only all-news radio station, and is the world’s oldest continuously operated station, originating in 1909 in San Jose. It is owned by CBS RADIO, a division of CBS Corporation and one of the largest major-market broadcast media operators in the United States.