WKBT has been awarded the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Public Service from the Society of Professional Journalists.
WKBT received the national award for its efforts with the Compassion Project.
On October 2, 2012, News 8 This Morning anchor Jennifer Livingston shared a 4-minute on-air editorial with WKBT viewers urging them to be “better than the bullies” after she received a hurtful email. Her video went viral and her words, urging people to be more compassionate to combat bullying, inspired people in La Crosse and around the world.
Soon, Livingston and other members of the News 8 team helped establish the La Crosse County Anti-Bullying Task Force. Those meetings prompted News 8 to produce an hour-long special, “From Cruelty to Compassion: A Community Conversation.” The message was "change starts with me.”
At the end of the program, News 8 unveiled a new website that staff created and will continue to manage for the community: thecompassionproject.me. This site provides links to an abundance of resources on bullying for parents, kids and educators and highlights what our community is doing to be more compassionate.
"This award recognizes the hard work and dedication of the people at News 8 for helping to better our community. It's what we as broadcasters strive for most in our jobs, public service to our viewers," said WKBT-TV General Manager Scott Chorski.
WKBT was one of only 3 television honorees selected for Excellence in Public Service. All together, 85 awards were given out in a variety of categories from nearly 1,800 submissions. Entries included selections from television and radio broadcasts, newspapers, online news outlets and magazines.
News 8 will accept the award at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in June.