WCPO series 'Out from the shadows: Cincinnati's syphilis epidemic' wins award for media excellence

CINCINNATI - The Campaign for Public Health (CPH) Foundation  selected WCPO and contributor Anne Saker as its 2013 Unsung Heroes of Public Health Excellence in Media  honorees.

In October, WCPO.com debuted a three-part series reported and written by Saker, called “Out from the shadows: Cincinnati’s syphilis epidemic,” which shed light on the disease and the impact it is having in the region.


Pt. I: 'The numbers are way too high,' say Hamilton Co. health officials battling syphilis epidemic

Pt. II: Local non-profit takes the fight against syphilis epidemic to communities, in an RV

Pt. III: Cincinnati doctor explains how syphilis can ravage the body

Saker's reporting, storytelling and compelling research across multiple health resources translated an often-taboo topic into something that grabbed audiences’ attention.

The Hamilton County Public Health Department nominated WCPO and Saker for the award. Previous winners of the Excellence in Media award include the Los Angeles Times and USA Today.

“(We are) already leveraging the WCPO series by sharing it with regional health and elected officials, physicians, community councils and the general public,” said Mike Samet, public information officer for Hamilton County Public Health. ”Awareness is the first step in producing positive health outcomes and this series is helping us tell the story. It has opened a lot of eyes and has done wonders in helping us to bring awareness to the medical community and the general public of just how serious this problem is.”

Karl Moeller, CPH Foundation executive director, called the series an excellent example of how reporters can deliver factual, educational and research-based health information out to the public.

“Anne went the extra mile to craft a fact-based story from reliable sources in the health department that aided their efforts to turn around a preventable illness plaguing the greater Cincinnati community,” Moeller said. “WCPO worked to get it right, and fought a local public health crisis with facts and answers."

Anne Saker is Cincinnati-based freelance journalist, who contributes regularly to WCPO.

Based in Washingon, D.C. the CPH Foundation's stated mission is "working to make public health and prevention a higher national priority."

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