What started as an out-of-the-blue phone call to WJCT News Director Jessica Palombo last summer has resulted in an award for Best Investigative Story from the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters association.
The story by WJCT reporter Ryan Benk titled “Florida Patients Stranded By State-Contracted Ride Service” won Best Investigation of 2017 among large-market radio stations. Public radio station WLRN in Miami took second place in the investigative reporting category.
Through his reporting, Ryan found that the complaints against the ride coordinator LogistiCare were not unique to one Jacksonville woman. A second patient in Tampa also shared her story, and then public records showed 345 complaints against the company had been lodged with the state in six months alone.
The story proved difficult to report because state health care regulators quoted nearly $4,000 to produce the initially requested public records. The cost of records then became part of the story as Ryan and his editor Jessica persevered.
Read the award-winning story here.
Congratulations, WJCT News!