Journalism Alum Eva Parks Wins Three Awards for Investigative Reporting
Credits SMU for Experience, Internships, Classes and Professors
Meadows alumna Eva Parks (B.A. Broadcast Journalism,’03) and her investigative news team at NBC affiliate KXAS-TV Channel 5 in Dallas-Fort Worth were named the winners of three significant journalism awards in May. The four-person team, for which Parks is the producer, won the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Investigative Report, a top national award from the Society of Professional Journalists, for the story “Critical Delays: Dallas County’s Response to the West Nile Epidemic.” The story examined the response of Dallas county officials in the crucial days and weeks of the West Nile epidemic that gripped the DFW area during the summer of 2012.
The team also won two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from The Radio Television Digital News Associationfor Continuing Coverage and News Series.
In the Continuing Coverage category, the NBC 5 team’s nine-month investigation resulted in the series “Driven to Distraction,” which led to local police department policy changes designed to prevent crashes caused by police officers using mobile dashboard computers while driving.
“You’re Gonna Wait,” a multi-part investigation on long waits at the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) driver license offices, won in the News Series category. The team revealed that actual wait times at driver license offices are often worse than DPS reports from the data it gathers.
“It’s such an honor to be a part of a team dedicated to covering stories that make a difference and that have an impact on the community,” said Parks. “Our team has only been together for a year, and I feel incredibly humbled that we were recognized for our hard work.
“This year is also special for me as I’ll be celebrating my 10-year reunion at SMU. I have so many wonderful memories. My class was the first to use the studio for the first broadcast of SMU TV. Over the years I've said countless times that the experience, internships, classes and professors I had at SMU made me the person I am today.”
After graduating from SMU, Parks began her journalism career with NBC News, where she worked as the Dallas bureau coordinator, managing crews covering both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. Along the way, she also covered stories along the Texas-Mexico Border for MSNBC.
From there, she accepted a position as a field producer for the Fox News Channel, covering breaking news in the Southwest, including the Enron trial. She then left network coverage and took a position at WRAL-TV, the CBS affiliate in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. While on the East Coast, she also worked as a field producer for several networks, covering more hurricanes as well as military stories out of Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune.
In 2009, Parks moved back to Texas and headed home to SMU, where she served as director of integrated video communications. In 2012, she rejoined NBC News in Dallas as the producer for the NBC 5 investigative unit.