WZZM-TV, the TEGNA owned ABC affiliate in Grand Rapids, won the parent company’s Community Empowerment Award for the second year in a row. The award showcases the initiatives and work that stations do to help their respective communities.
“It has been the highlight of my career to be able to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives and work hand-in-hand with my colleagues to improve our community,” said Program and Community Director Catherine Behrendt. “This award is recognition of that work and I’m proud of our team for having received it.”
WZZM 13’s sustained commitment and willingness to go one step further was evident in the examples they submitted.
New Heights: Restoring a City was an hour-long documentary that examined the history, the challenges, and the work being done to restore a more hopeful future for the city of Muskegon Heights. It also inspired others to do more, and with the help of TEGNA grants, launched an effort to bring back the much-loved Muskegon Heights High Step Marching Band. See the full special here.
Water for Flint was an effort that collected tens of thousands of gallons of donated bottled drinking water for the people of Flint, whose own water was tainted with lead.
LOVE>hate (Love Is Greater Than Hate) was launched after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. At a time of great tragedy, how might people be reminded that the world is filled with many, many good people? A series of stories and on-air messages reminded people that love has a much greater impact on the world. WZZM 13 also hosted a Dance for Unity in downtown Grand Rapids to give people a chance to come together.
13 Friends for Life turned twenty this year. The breast cancer awareness campaign is credited by a number of women for having saved their lives. They saw the message, got a mammogram, discovered cancer, and were successfully treated – all because of 13 Friends for Life.
And, finally, Toys for Tots served thousands of children and their families during the holiday season—making sure all those kids had presents under the tree at Christmas.
TEGNA honored the winners and finalists during its annual Employee Awards ceremony at corporate headquarters in McLean, VA.
“Our employees are living our purpose by empowering those they serve. It is always an honor to come together and celebrate their many achievements,” said Gracia Martore, president and CEO, TEGNA. “Today’s award winners helped TEGNA reach new heights over the past year and their continued dedication and hard work is vital to our success. I congratulate all of our winners and finalists on their outstanding performance.”
WZZM 13 was also a finalist in the Diversity & Inclusion Category.