NBC Bay Area receives Hillman Prize for 15-part investigative series on 911 delays

NBC’s Bay Area station KNTV has been honored with a Hillman Prize for Journalism by the Sidney Hillman Foundation for its investigative series “911: Hanging on the Line.”

The series shed light on critical issues within Oakland’s 911 system and helped prompt a $2.5 million investment by the City of Oakland and the Oakland Police Department to address flaws in the city’s emergency response.

“911: Hang on the Line,” a 15-part investigative series, examines the harrowing experience of an Oakland police officer facing a life-threatening situation due to failed 911 connections. NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit uncovered Oakland’s alarming distinction of having California’s poorest 911 response time out of any city or county, often resulting in callers encountering busy signals. The series exposed systemic failures in the 911 system and regulatory neglect.

Following the series’ revelations and two damning civil grand jury reports, state authorities issued a stern warning to Oakland. Subsequently, in September 2023, the city’s mayor announced a $2.5 million investment to overhaul the struggling 911 department. Click here to watch the series.

“We are honored to receive the prestigious Hillman Prize for Journalism for our investigative series, 911: Hanging on the Line,” said Stephanie Adrouny, vice president of news for NBC Bay Area and Telemundo 48, in a statement. “This recognition underscores the power of journalism to effect meaningful change in our communities. We are committed to uncovering vital stories that drive progress and hold those in power accountable. Our mission is empowering viewers with knowledge and solutions, ultimately moving the community forward.”

Investigative reporter Candice Nguyen led and produced the investigations for “911: Hang on the Line,” alongside producer Sean Myers and photographers Jeremy Carroll, Alex Bozovic, and Michael Horn.

The 74th annual Hillman Prizes for Journalism awards presentation and reception will be held on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, at the Times Center in New York City.

Since 1950, the Sidney Hillman Foundation has honored journalists who pursue investigative reporting and deep storytelling in service of the common good. The Hillman Prizes strive to recognize discernment of a significant news story, resourcefulness and courage in reporting, skill in relating the story and the impact of the coverage.