NEW YORK CITY- KARE 11's investigative team has won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.
The team was recognized for three investigative series, including the series "Invisible Wounds: Treatment and Reform."
The two-year investigation by reporter A.J. Lagoe, producer Steve Eckert and photojournalist Gary Knox uncovered evidence that the VA was using unqualified doctors to diagnose veterans with traumatic brain injuries, often denying them treatment and benefits.
As a result of KARE’s reporting for “Invisible Wounds” VA officials publicly acknowledged there was a “systematic national problem” reaching all 50 states and compelled the federal agency to offer new traumatic brain injury evaluations to all misdiagnosed veterans nationwide.
Lagoe, Eckert and Knox were also recognized for "The Insane Benefit: Minnesota's Secret Sex Offenders," a local investigation which revealed a legal loophole that allowed Minnesota judges and prosecutors to grant select sex offenders a special status to make their criminal record secret.
"Double Billing the Badge" which revealed law enforcement agencies across Minnesota were over- or double-charged for equipment on police vehicles, wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars of state taxpayer money was also recognized.
The “Invisible Wounds: Treatment and Reform” series has received a number of national and regional awards and is a recipient of the 68th Annual George Polk Award, as well as the 2015 IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors) Award for investigative journalism.
KARE 11's sister station in Houston KHOU was also recognized "Transparency" a digital-first investigation that exposed the lack of accountability and the improper use of police body cameras in the city of Houston.