KHOU's look into discrimination and corruption in the Texas National Guard has racked up a slew of awards, and today it won a biggie: an IRE medal.
The medal is the highest honor awarded by the Investigative Reporters and Editors association; also winning one this year was The New York Times.
KHOU conducted a two-year investigation into the Guard and found, as the station puts it,
"high-ranking female officers being pushed out of the National Guard through harassment, punishment and sabotage by an all-male leadership. It was then discovered that subsequent discrimination investigations were often mired at the highest levels. The unraveling continued when the [KHOU] Defenders exposed other forms of corruption, including embezzlement, double-billing and the funding of private businesses with National Guard resources."
The IRE judges had high praise for the effort.
No system can be more impenetrable for a team of reporters than the military "old boys" network, but that's exactly what reporter Mark Greenblatt and producers David Raziq and Chris Henao took on when they followed up on a tip to check out the "Vagisil Award" being given to women in the Texas National Guard. From that one tip, the team - which also included photographer/editor Keith Tomshe and graphic artist Robyn Hughes - found a system of misogynistic actions that went beyond humiliation...In the end, this two-year investigation resulted in the Texas governor firing three top generals in the Texas National Guard and the state legislature changing the way it oversees Texas Guard operations.
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Congratulations to KHOU, a perennial "Best of Houston" winner -- which we're sure they cherish as deeply as any IRE trinket.