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August 03, 2013

NBC4 Leads Winners at 65th Los Angeles Area Emmys with Eight Awards, ABC7 Scores Seven

Tears, fears and the year’s finest moments in news coverage are feted and honored. Univision Los Angeles receives Governors Award for its multiplatform education initiative, Educate, Es El Momento.

Libby Slate
  • Joetta Di Bella and John Mitchell
    Joetta Di Bella, Vice Chair, Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards and John Mitchell, Director of Counseling and Scholarships at the Fulfillment Fund

Even on the night that local broadcasters celebrate their most accomplished work of the past year, the relentless pressures of their jobs are never out of mind — and they were acknowledged early on by Television Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum.

"You work under constant, never-ending deadlines," Rosenblum said in his opening remarks at the 65th Annual Los Angeles Area Emmys, while heads nodded in assent throughout the crowd. "You help guide our community through its most difficult and most triumphant moments."

Many of those moments were relived at the August 3 ceremony, held at the Television Academy's Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in the NoHo Arts District, where local programming excellence was awarded in forty-six categories. While NBC4 was the top winner of the evening, the station did not manage a three-peat sweep of the most prestigious awards. This year, those honors — for morning, daytime and evening newscasts — were divvied up, going to KTLA5, NBC4 and KMEX, respectively. The distinguished Governors Award was presented to Univision's multi-platform education initiative "Edúcate, Es El Momento"

NBC4 garnered the most statuettes, eight, followed by ABC7 with seven and KTLA5 and Time Warner Cable SportsNet with five apiece. The SportsNet awards were particularly remarkable, as the network had launched October 1, 2012, affording its programming just three months for consideration during the 2012 eligibility period. Sister network TWC Desportes, the nation's first Spanish-language regional sports network, also debuted October 1 and won one award.

Over the past two years the NBC4 news team swept the top three awards for regularly scheduled daily newscasts. This year the station collected the statuette in the daytime category for its NBC4 News at 6 p.m., while KTLA5 News at 7 a.m. took the morning and KMEX's Noticias a las Once won for evening.

Programming about children, present and past, elicited a number of awards in diverse categories. The most heartbreaking was KTLA5's live coverage win for its work on the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting deaths of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.

"That was a long day, a very emotional day," said anchor-reporter Glen Walker. "This is the best [newsroom] I've ever worked with in my entire career. When there's breaking news, everybody goes into this mode, and it's just amazing to watch everybody work in sync. That was one of those days. It's an honor to work with the people I work with. It's an honor to get this. Thank you."

Also emotional was KTTV's Fox11 News report, "The Courage of Hana Hwang," which won a medical story Emmy for its profile of a thirteen-year-old girl with progeria, a genetic condition that speeds up the aging process.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles was featured in two winning programs, ABC7's annual special Imagine, profiling patients, and TWC SportsNet's "Pau Gasol at the Children's Hospital," showcasing the NBA star's regular visits to the facility, which was honored in the sports feature category.

A report by KABC7's David Ono about the fortieth anniversary of a haunting, Pulitzer Prize–winning photo taken during the Vietnam War — of a naked nine-year-girl fleeing a 1972 napalm attack on her village — was one of three Emmys the reporter-producer won that night. The photographer of that renowned image, Nick Ut, was in attendance as Ono accepted.

"Great stories write themselves. Thank you, Nick Ut," Ono said. He was also recognized for news feature reporting and for hard news reporting, sharing the latter in a tie with NBC4's reporter Ana Garcia and producer Robbi Peele.

Three Emmys were awarded to programming about the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 riots that occurred after the acquittal of Los Angeles police officers in the beating of Rodney King. Honored were NBC4's L.A. Riots: 20 Years Later, KCBS2/KCAL9's Eye on Our Community: The L.A. Riots – 20 Years Later and KTLA5's The L.A. Riots – 20 Years Later.

"There were a lot of community leaders who came forward for this show and poured their hearts out and swore they never wanted to see a day, or six days, like the L.A. riots again," said CBS2/KCAL9 producer Velia La Garda. "Including [current] police chief [Charlie] Beck, who gave us his personal ride-along and [discussed] what he went through that day."

This year's Emmy results reflected the growing influence of the Hispanic market. Spanish-language programming won six competitive awards, and Univision Los Angeles was honored with the night's highest accolade, the Governors Award, for its initiative "Edúcate, Es El Momento" (Educate Yourself, The Moment is Now). When Univision station KMEX won its newscast award in the evening's last presentation, news director Marco Flores said, "Wow! This really puts the cherry on the cake. Thank you, Academy, for this honor. We're humbled and honored."

"Edúcate, Es El Momento" was a year-long, national, multifaceted initiative to improve academic achievement among K–12 Hispanic students, part of Univision's mission to empower the community. "There's no greater tool for empowerment than education," senior news reporter Oswaldo Borraez observed in his introduction.

"It is our social responsibility to offer our community and our viewers an avenue that will help them navigate through... a very complicated educational process," said Alberto Mier y Teràn, general manager of Univision 34. "At the same time, we want them to become advocates for their children's education. We will continue our commitment to education, to ensure that more Latino youths graduate from high school and pursue higher education."

The Los Angeles Area Emmys ceremony itself has become an opportunity to help young people on their educational paths. For the third year, public high school students shadowed the production team and participated in the show, the result of a partnership between the Television Academy Foundation and the Fulfillment Fund, which mentors at-risk youth to help them fulfill their academic potential. This year's interns were: Leslie Campos, Samantha Canseco, Andrea Carrillo, Stacey Caver, Laura Cuellar, Austin Fenton, Paige Gaynair, Lynzie Glover, Brandon Godoy, Daisy Hidalgo, Lance McNeil and Juana Mireles.

The night featured many moments of elation, but there were some mixed emotions as well. Ana Garcia who picked up an investigative reporting award for "Illegal Animal Traffickers" on NBC4, noted that she is no longer with the station.

"This is so bittersweet, so fantastic, so great!" Garcia exclaimed, lauding the "total group effort" and making sure producer Robbi Peele also spoke. When she and Peele subsequently tied with Ono for hard news reporting, Garcia said, "We are so honored. I treasure this, because it's for a body of work."

When Tony Valdez's Tony's L.A. on KTTV won for L.A. local color, Valdez appeared in a white dress jacket and noted, "The first time I received one of these was in 1984. Now that the color of my hair matches the color of my coat, and circumstances being what they are, this is entirely likely that this will be the last time I'll get to come up here. I'd like to use the time to say thank you to all the L.A. press corps. Whether you work in radio, print, one of the other television stations, thank you for all these years working side by side."

And while the KCET news series SoCal Connected won three statuettes, it was noted that the executive producer had been let go and other team members had found other jobs. The show may be returning next year, though. "Everybody, we will be back," anchor Val Zavala asserted.

The L.A. Emmys ceremony was streamed live to, where an archived video is available.

This year's event featured almost forty presenters, including anchors, reporters and producers. Los Angeles Area peer group governors Greg Taylor and Sabrina Fair Thomas and Los Angeles Area vice-chair Joetta Di Bella produced the ceremony.

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