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RTDNA/NEFE Announce 2020 Excellence in Personal Finance Reporting Award Winners

DENVER—The National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®), in partnership with the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), proudly announce winners of the 2020 Excellence in Personal Finance Reporting Awards. Through the organizations’ ongoing partnership to encourage and support radio, television and online news outlets to report on consumer finance issues, winners from three newsrooms have been recognized for their outstanding work.

Digital: Jeff Kauflin, Antoine Gara, Sergei Klebnikov, John Dobosz, Forbes, New York

Story: 20-Year-Old Robinhood Customer Dies by Suicide After Seeing a $730,000 Negative Balance
and
Story: The Inside Story of Robinhood’s Billionaire Founders, Option Kid Cowboys and the Wall Street Sharks That Feed on Them

Forbes was the first outlet to confirm the tragic story of Alex Kearns, investigate the complex options trade he had made and explain how the Robinhood app he used likely led him to misunderstand the trade. The story became the most-viewed article in Forbes.com history, reaching nearly 18 million views. It sparked a broad discussion of Robinhood’s responsibility to create a safe trading app with guardrails. Two days after publication, Robinhood announced it would do more to educate users on stock options and improve the user interface, and it later outlined plans to hire hundreds of new customer service staff members. Forbes followed up with an investigation of Robinhood’s history and business model, illustrating the wild trading culture the company has inspired and the reasons why big Wall Street trading firms are willing to pay Robinhood hundreds of millions of dollars annually just for the right to execute its trades.

Television: Brad Edwards, WBBM-TV CBS2, Chicago

Story: Getting Hosed: Chicago Water, A Bungled Bureaucracy

How did 70-year-old Vietnam Veteran Rodney Andrews get a $10,700.57 water bill for a house he’s never lived in? CBS 2 Investigator Edwards and team examined his case and exposed a wholly flawed system and regressive billing policies. Edwards’ demand for answers eventually got Andrews’ bill cut by 70 percent and led the team on a quest that exposed a necessary system tied in bureaucratic knots. Working one bill at a time, Edwards and team have so far saved residents hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Radio: Brandon McDermott, NET News Nebraska Public Radio and Television, Lincoln, Neb.

Story: Nebraska Schools Tackle Financial Literacy

According to the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, about 60 percent of Nebraska students get mandatory lessons on managing personal finances. The state ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to financial literacy nationally. Schools in Nebraska are trying different ways to educate Nebraska students on financial literacy.

The RTDNA/NEFE Excellence in Personal Finance Reporting Awards are presented in connection with Money Matters, a resource developed through the partnership between NEFE and RTDNA to help journalists better cover stories about financial issues.

For a list of previous winners and more about the RTDNA/NEFE Excellence in Personal Finance Reporting Award, visit www.rtdna.org/content/nefe_award.

About the RTDNA

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) is the world's largest professional organization devoted exclusively to broadcast and digital journalism. Founded as a grassroots organization in 1946, RTDNA’s mission is to promote and protect responsible journalism. RTDNA defends the First Amendment rights of electronic journalists throughout the country, honors outstanding work in the profession through the Edward R. Murrow Awards and provides members with training to encourage ethical standards, newsroom leadership and industry innovation. For more information, visit www.rtdna.org.

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