The American Legion named Military Times and a Florida television news station as winners of its Fourth Estate Awards for outstanding achievement in the field of journalism, according to a statement from the nation’s largest veteran organization.

Military Times was recognized in the print category for its 2022 reporting about the harmful effects of burn pits and other toxic exposures on generations of service members. The reporting of Capitol Bureau Chief Leo Shane III established Military Times as a “go-to” source for developments in the passing of the PACT Act, according to an American Legion release.

President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act into law on August 10.

“The American Legion has always cherished the role that the free press plays in our constitutional republic,” Vincent Troiola, the organization’s national commander, said in a statement. “These award winners are being recognized for outstanding works of journalism that not only stand far above normal media reporting but have had a positive impact on society.

“I will be honored to present both of these deserving recipients with our highest recognition of journalistic accomplishment, The American Legion Fourth Estate Award, at our national convention this summer,” he added. “They are credits to their profession.”

The winners will be recognized for their work on Aug. 31 at the American Legion’s 104th National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Tampa, Florida-based ABC Action News WFTS-TV took home the award in the broadcast category for their three-part series, “Bogus COVID-19 Testing Clinics Putting Floridians’ Health at Risk,” which investigated COVID-19 testing clinics that falsely reported negative tests to patients.

Past winners of the American Legion Fourth Estate Award include CNN, CBS, USA Today, ABC News, C-SPAN, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Life Magazine.

Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.

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