By Katelyn Umholtz
The idea for “Motel Life” came to Corky Scholl when he was doing some still photography work of a neon motel sign. A man approached him who had been living at that motel.
“I think we all have our stereotypes,” Scholl said. “But after talking to this guy, it got me curious. I wanted to meet other people that also call motels their home.”
NPPA member Scholl of KUSA Denver made the video that won an Edward R. Murrow award this year in the Use of Video category.
This eight-minute video debuted on Christmas Eve of 2015, showing the lives of Denver citizens who live in motels across the city. There was also an organization interviewed that helped out these individuals and families with motel residencies.
It was summer of 2015 when Scholl started research. He came across a story of a young woman who was killed at the motel she was living at with her family. He knew this angle had to be part of his story.
“That can be expected. But “For the most part, people were way more open than I would have expected,” Scholl said.
This included the family of the woman who was killed, and there were others featured Scholl found through the organization.
Once it was finished and published, Scholl hinted at his news director to nominate it for a Regional Murrow—and it won. Then it went on to nationals.
“My news director came into my edit space, and she told me about [me winning a Murrow],” Scholl said. “She told me to keep quiet about it for a few days because it wasn't official yet.”
“It felt really good to win,” Scholl said. “I worked hard on the story, and it was something I was really passionate about. So to win an award like that, I was honored.”
Already having won one Murrow before for a story on an apartment complex for the mentally ill, he said it was his passion for both subjects that pushed him to do well.
Scholl said his journalistic integrity was a major factor in the “Motel Life” story, as well. He thought the citizens of Denver deserved to know about this issue.
“These motels are being used as a place of last resort for all sorts of people and walks of life.,” Scholl said. “People should know that this is what's going on in their city.”