Sandy Hausman, Charlottesville bureau chief for WVTF RADIO IQ, recently won national Edward R. Murrow awards for investigative reporting and for continuing coverage.
“Murrows” are awarded by the Radio Television Digital News Association and honor “outstanding achievements in electronic journalism.”
“This is a huge accomplishment for Sandy,” said news director David Seidel. “It speaks volumes about her thoroughness, news judgment, and writing. It also shows RADIO IQ’s commitment to serious reporting that you just can't find in many other outlets.”
Life Without Parole: A Five-Part Series
Hausman revealed that Virginia had the lowest parole rate in the nation, with fewer than 3 percent of eligible inmates being freed. She explored the systemic reasons for reluctance to release, noting those appointed to the board have no job security. Should they free someone who goes on to commit a new crime, the governor could fire them at will.
She pointed out that Virginia’s parole board never meets as a group to debate the merits of a case, nor do members talk with prisoners. They do, however, speak directly with victims of a crime. Prisoners are not told what those victims say, and they have no chance to counter false claims, nor does the board investigate the veracity of what victims say.
New Evidence of Innocence: The Jens Soering Story
Through a series of stories, Hausman explored new evidence and arguments in the case of Jens Soering. Soering was a college student from Germany when he was convicted of the 1985 murder of his girlfriend’s parents in Bedford County.
Her stories explored the public campaigns, in both the United States and Germany, to have Soering’s life sentence commuted. She examined the political machinations involved in failed plans to have Soering transferred to German custody. She also brought a new voice to the discussion: a now-retired Bedford County detective who worked the case in 1985 and now believes Soering is innocent.
You can find a full list of award winners here.