By Carmen M. Woodson-Wray, Gary Crusader
Michael Howard King, a native of Gary and currently a television reporter for station WXIA-TV in Atlanta was recently honored with the 2016 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting.
King has been a television reporter for many, many years because as he says “It was something that I really wanted to do.” His Gary heritage began with his grandparents Emery King and the late Natalie King of Hobart. He is the son of Howard and Gloria King. He said reporting is in his blood. His uncle, Emory King, had an influence on his decision to pursue a career in journalism.
Emory King was a reporter with NBC, but many people know him from his reporting with Channel 2 in Chicago, as well as with radio station WWCA of Gary doing the old Sound Off Show Days.
The Edward R. Murrow award is granted annually to work that demonstrates original and outstanding enterprise on an important issue to the community at large. King was part of a four-man team that developed and produced the story “Smart ALEC: The Backroom Where Laws Are Born,” which uncovered underhanded backroom deals by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a lobbyists’ group which sequesters state lawmakers under the guise of “educational retreats,” in order to craft and create boilerplate legislation that would eventually be ramrodded through the Georgia State General Assembly without regard for the wants, needs or desires of the citizens of the state of Georgia.
WXIA’s chief investigative reporter Brendan Keefe, photojournalist Shawn Hoder and executive producer Jeffrey Reid, along with King as digital producer, crafted the news story.
The Radio Television Digital News Association has been awarding outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards annually since 1971. The awards are named for and devoted to the spirit of the legendary CBS broadcast journalism pioneer, whose work and standard is one that electronic journalists strive to emulate the world over.
King said when he and his team were notified that they were the recipients of the award they were completely shocked. He said, “The way the Murrow Award works is that there is a regional competition and then there is the national competition. In the regional competition your reports compete against others in your state and surrounding states. In our case we were up against Georgia, Florida and Carolina. When we found out that we had won the regional Murrow that was great and we were happy. When we went up for the national award we were up against 14 other regions around the country which is some serious competition from some big named stations. We were very pleased when we found out that we actually had won. We are really thrilled and it just reinforces the type of work that we are doing. One of the things that we are really excited about is the fact that we are putting together news, information and reports that affect people and change within our community.”
This marks King’s first national Murrow Award. He has previously received three regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, eight Southeast Regional Emmy Awards, 11 Associated Press Awards and three Georgia Association of Broadcasters Awards. He has been a broadcaster since the late 1970s, working at radio stations in the Atlanta, Chicago and Washington markets. He has been with television station WXIA since 2005.
King is a Gary native. He is a 1980 graduate of Gary Roosevelt High School, going on to study engineering at Purdue University in Lafayette and Howard University in Washington, where he studied marketing.
King’s mother said she and his father are so happy and proud of their son. She said, “I couldn’t be any prouder of him.”