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."
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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.
Congratulations to KHOU, a perennial "Best of Houston" winner -- which we're sure they cherish as deeply as any IRE trinket.