Lee Zurik nabs three N.O. Press Club Awards
Lee Zurik, WVUE Fox 8 investigative reporter, picked up three first place awards last night at the 54th annual Excellence in Journalism Awards sponsored by the Press Club of New Orleans. Zurik, a native New Orleanian and local community member, won a first place nod for TV Continuing Coverage, along with his producer Marcy Planer for his piece “Swiped,” which detailed questionable credit card spending practices by local officials. Zurik also received a first place award for TV Investigative for his piece “Hiding Behind the Badge,” which focused on former Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Jiff Hingle and business man Aaron Bennett. Following Zurik’s report, which also won a recent Green Eyeshade Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Hingle resigned and was charged with bribery by federal authorities. According to sources familiar with the investigation, Hingle – already facing federal charges – wore a recording device and implicated Bennett in the bribery scheme. Zurik’s wins in those category garnered him his third award for the evening, the Jim Metcalf Memorial Award, one of only six special awards for the evening covering winners in the print, editorial, photography and TV categories. That award, one of only two in the TV category, singled Zurik out for his excellence in broadcast writing. Zurik was also recently acknowledged as one of the nation’s top investigative reporters with a highly coveted certificate by the Investigative Reporters and Editors for his 2011 reports.