As the eye of Hurricane Katrina approached New Orleans, ears turned to CBS Radio.
The staff of the news radio network immersed themselves in Katrina, making their reporting more authentic and prolific than their competition.
“Our reporters visited all areas affected by this tragedy,” said CBS News in its letter to the judges. “They were not re-reading wire reports in hotel rooms. They lived the story themselves.
“Several members of our staff were embedded with military units performing rescue operations. They toured areas off limits to residents. They enabled those left stranded by the storm to communicate with relatives the news they were alive. Others traveled with evacuees as they tried to settle into new homes in other parts of the country.”
As news of a fate far worse than anyone imagined traveled across the airwaves, those tuned in weren’t in for easy listening. But they were recipients of hard news coverage that spoke volumes about Katrina’s carnage.
“This entry was the first the judges listened to and became the standard against which the others were evaluated,” said the judges. “CBS News was prepared for Katrina, and its correspondents painted splendid word pictures of a rapidly deteriorating situation.”
Part of the network’s radio coverage that solidified its stature was its decision to broadcast the names of missing children in New Orleans during its hourly programming. The move was an immeasurable success, ultimately uniting 165 of the 200 children featured with their families.
“According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, CBS News was directly responsible for ‘the lion’s share’ of those reunifications,” reported CBS.
By making a difference in the lives of many listeners, CBS Radio ensured that its name will still be heard when critics discuss radio’s best.
“CBS Radio has upheld the claim that CBS News is the Tiffany network,” the judges said.