In the beginning days of 2006, the saga of 13 men trapped in a West Virginia coal mine captivated the nation. It was a race against time at the Sago Mine, with hope turning to desperation to tragedy. This misfortune contained a different kind of twist, however, as family members of the trapped men were led to believe the miners were alive, only to be told hours later that the contrary was true.
“NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams” covered this story from several points of view: the rescue effort, the families’ state of mind as they waited, and the company that owned the Sago Mine. Questions were raised about the mine’s past safety violations, and a narrative from a miner who had been trapped in a previous mining disaster added fascinating insight. Finally, veteran correspondent Robert Hager, who had covered many similar disasters, provided an essential gravitas to the telecast.
Judges complimented the broadcasters for how well the stories were put together, along with the graphics and animation that made the story clear and visual. Overall, they said, the treatment deepened an understanding of “a way of life and of an industry.”