Charlotte Huffman Hinkley '03
Young Alumni Achievement 2017
Investigative Reporter, WFAA 8
“Every day I have the opportunity to give a voice to the voiceless and shine a light in areas that, quite frankly, some probably prefer to be kept dark,” says Charlotte Huffman Hinkley, an award-winning investigative reporter at WFAA who joined News 8 Investigates Team in 2015. “That’s why I love my job.”
Mrs. Hinkley’s in-depth investigations aim to get to the bottom of issues fairly and accurately. “I’m going to ask you some tough questions,” she often tells the people she’s interviewing. “You may not like the fact that I’m reporting this story, but nothing in it should surprise you.”
Her reporting has been known to change laws, and change lives. While in Raleigh, her several-month-long investigation, Poison in the Water, revealed 2,000 sites across North Carolina where families were drinking dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals. Mrs. Hinkley uncovered the source of the water contamination. Then, she obtained nearly 1,000 records — including internal government emails — to reveal how regulators ignored their own evidence of the danger and failed to warn families that the water they’d been drinking for years could be killing them.
“People often ask me, ‘How’d you get that story?'" Mrs. Hinkley says. "It’s simple, I tell them, ‘just never stop asking questions.’”
Poison in the Water led to state legislative change, a class-action lawsuit by activist Erin Brockovich’s team, and a statewide water safety campaign. Her work on the story was also recognized with one of investigative journalism’s top honors: the prestigious regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
Mrs. Hinkley graduated from Southern Methodist University with degrees in journalism and Spanish and has held reporting positions in markets including Tyler, TX; Raleigh, NC; and Philadelphia. But she says she always knew she wanted to return to Dallas and report for the community she calls home.
After college, she started her career in Wichita Falls, where she met her husband, a U.S. Air Force pilot. When she's not working, Huffman enjoys traveling, sailing, boxing, and spending time with her husband and their golden retriever, Holt.