The series examines Texas Railroad Commission Chairman, Christi Craddick, and the conflicts of interest related to her politically prominent family and her position as the state’s most powerful oil and gas regulator.
The Walter Cronkite Awards honor television journalism that contributes to the health of America’s democratic institutions.
The award was presented to the KXAN team for an episode of political program, State of Texas, that focused on an investigative reporting series, Texas’ Oil Empire: Drilling into Power, Money and Ethics.
The series examines Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick and the conflicts of interest related to her politically prominent family and her position as the state’s most powerful oil and gas regulator.
Last fall, the KXAN investigative news team launched the Texas’ Oil Empire: Drilling into Power, Money and Ethics, project.
Over a period of one year, the KXAN team visited nearly a dozen communities across the west Texas plains and delivered exclusive reporting detailing new evidence related to Craddick and her family’s previously undisclosed financial ties to the oil and gas companies she was elected to regulate.
After analyzing thousands of records and documents, the investigation revealed that the Craddick family has financial stakes in hundreds of oil and gas leases through a myriad of corporations, many of which have been the subject of votes Craddick has cast since 2014.
“Many Texans may never think about what happens inside a state agency like the Railroad Commission because it seems so removed from their lives,” said Chad Cross, KXAN’s news director.
“We’re proud of our investigative reporting like Oil Empire because it explains to Texans why they should care, and sheds light on how elected officials are using their positions of power.”
Eric Lassberg, KXAN’s general manager, added: “Investigative journalism is at the heart of what we do, it is how we enrich the community, and we have to thank our local residents because they are now sending us thousands of tips per month. This story came from one of those tips.”
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