Contest Entries

Dan Rather Reports: Toxic Trailers

Entrants: Chandra Simon, Dan Rather and Resa Matthews

Affiliation: HDNet

TV/Radio (Top 20 markets, network, syndicated)

Year: 2007

Place: Third Place

Provide a brief synopsis of the story or stories, including any significant findings.

Thousands of families who were left homeless in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina are living in temporary travel trailers provided by FEMA. Dan Rather Reports discovered many of these trailers are emitting toxic levels of formaldehyde, and broke the news that FEMA was actually well aware of the problem before delivering a single trailer. The residents' heads ache and eyes itch, their children wake with nosebleeds and suffer from respiratory problems that don't go away. Many have been afraid to come forward from fear of losing the only home they have left. Others have appealed to FEMA, time and again, for trailers that would not make their children sick.

Judges' Comments: These investigative pieces research and find the people who built the trailers used to house victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. We hear the story of a plant churning these trailers out non stop. We meet the production line worker who is also dealing with medical issues as she details the corners that were cut to create these toxic trailers. 

See "Toxic Trailers" from Dan Rather Reports.

See the contest questionnaire in which the reporter writes about how this story was written.