RTDNA and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) proudly announce the winners of the 2015 RTDNA/NEFE Award for Personal Finance Reporting. As part of the two organizations' ongoing efforts to encourage radio, television and online news outlets to report on personal finance issues, three winners have been chosen for their outstanding work. They are:
Television: Michelle Mortensen and Sarita Kichok, KLAS-TV Las Vegas, Nevada
8 On Your Side Consumer Series
Michelle Mortensen heads up the 8 On Your Side Consumer Division of 8 News Now. A multiple Emmy Award-winning journalist, Mortensen has worked across the U.S. and Canada and in 2015 launched her "Debt Destroyer" program where she helps Southern Nevadans get out of debt and become financially stable.
Photojournalist Sarita Kichok has worked in Boise, Idaho and Orlando, Florida as well as Las Vegas, and has been involved in many consumer, investigative, and special project units.
Radio: Courtney Collins, KERA-FM Dallas
One Crisis Away: Inside a Neighborhood
Courtney Collins works as a reporter at KERA-FM in Dallas and produces the station's daily local news segment during All Things Considered. She has won awards from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors, Texas Medical Association, Houston Press Club and most recently received the inaugural consumer financial reporting award presented by the Public Radio News Directors Inc. and the National Endowment for Financial Education.
Online: Melanie Hicken and Blake Ellis, CNN Atlanta
The Secret World of Government Debt Collection
Melanie Hicken is a staff writer for CNNMoney focusing on investigative work. Before joining CNN, Hicken worked for the Los Angeles Times Community News group, where she won awards for her local government coverage and investigative reports. She has also written for The Orange County Register and Reuters.
Blake Ellis is an award-winning senior investigative writer with CNNMoney. She was previously on the personal finance beat, where her coverage of same-sex financial struggles earned her both the first place Excellence in Online Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and the 2013 Excellence in Personal Finance Reporting Award from the National Endowment of Financial Education.
Each winning entry receives a $1000 cash prize and will co-present a training seminar entitled Money Matters: Excellence in Financial Reporting at Excellence in Journalism 2015, the national convention of RTDNA, the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, September 18-20 in Orlando, Florida. The winners will break down their award-winning submissions and share the key reporting tools and best practices they used to add depth to their reporting. Audience members will walk away from the session with several ways to creatively approach their reporting and make comprehensive topics more digestible to viewers and listeners.
The National Endowment for Financial Education provides financial education and practical information to people at all financial stages. NEFE believes that regardless of background or income level more financially informed individuals are better able to take control of their circumstances, improve their quality of life, and ensure a more stable future for themselves and their families.
RTDNA is the world's largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. RTDNA represents local and network journalists in broadcasting, cable and digital media in more than 30 countries.