BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) - The News 4 Team won a 2011 Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award for our coverage of bullying called the Bully Project.
You can see all of the 2011 Sigma Delta Chi Award Honorees on this page .
News 4's the Bully Project was honored in the category for Public Service in Television Journalism (Large-Market Station, 1-50 market).
The full entry is below and you can also watch the attached video to learn more about the Bully Project.
You may have heard the story of Jamey Rodemeyer, the 14-year- old suburban Buffalo boy who killed himself because he was bullied. His death catapulted the bullying battle into the local and national spotlight.
News 4 committed to the fight against bullying months before Jamey's death launching our News 4 Bully Project which is now synonymous with the fight against bullying.
Early in 2011 News 4 presented a series of reports on young victims who were tormented in school and on the bus. Our viewers heard from victims of bullies, parents who feared for the safety of their children, and experts who answered viewer's questions on the phone and online live during our newscasts. In fact almost 100 community members joined us during our first every Bully Project live chat. Our coverage was so strong that local and national celebrities like the Goo Goo Dolls' Robbie Takac and Buffalo Sabres star goaltender Ryan Miller talked to us about their own struggles with bullies. The response from the WNY community to News 4's Bully Project was quick, emotional and overwhelming.
When Jamey took his own life on the night of September 16 th News 4 got the tragic news from a couple of emails. Jamey's suicide put New 4's Bully Project back in the spotlight. In just two days 38,000 people read Jamey's story on WIVB.com.
Jamey recorded an "it gets better" video months before his death, encouraging other bullying victims to stay strong. Members of the News 4 Team recorded their own very personal "it gets better" messages that were shown both on-air and online. We also encouraged our viewers to send us their own videos.
News 4's Bully Project campaign went viral. Local Middle School Students took a stand by starting a "no hate" campaign on student lockers. Fifth graders at another school wrote heartfelt letters to a local Congressman. Many other schools held public forums for parents, students and teachers to discuss the challenges of bullying.
Every major news network did stories profiling Jamey and the dangers of bullying. Music Icon Lady Gaga tweeted that she would fight for new bullying laws as a result of Jamey's tragic death.
It was News 4 who suggested to the Anderson Cooper daytime talk show, that they do a segment on Jamey Rodemeyer and bullying. The show dedicated an entire hour to bullying, and invited News 4 Reporter George Richert to give his perspective as part of the show. It is because of News 4's Bully Project that two Erie Co. legislators proposed a new law that would make it a crime to bully a child on the internet.
Organizers of The Trevor Project, an organization determined to end suicide among gay & lesbian youth, invited News 4 to the Trevor Project Fundraiser in California where the Rodemeyers met with Lady Gaga. They tell us, the exclusive invitation was because our station best covers this sensitive issue.
Here at News 4 we pride ourselves on being a community based television station that fights for the issues that matter most to our viewers. Our "Bully Project" addressed one of the biggest public issues of the year and opened a dialog for years to come.
State Police need your help finding a missing woman last seen leaving M&T Bank on Main Street in Clarence this past Monday.
Police in Lockport say they have taken action after a threat was posted on a social media site from a student threatening to bring a gun to North Park School.
State Police are thanking News 4 viewers for helping them locate a man who allegedly hit a mother with his pickup truck as she loaded her two children into her vehicle and then fled the scene.
Intense Lk Snow North early heads back to Ski Country Late; General Snow Saturday
Lewiston Police are reconstructing the scene of a fatal accident between a car and pedestrian.
GingerBread Lane, a 300-square-foot village made entirely of edible gingerbread, icing and candy, has been designated world's largest gingerbread village by Guinness World Records.