Roberta Baskin, Channel 7's consumer investigative reporter, won a Silver Baton last night at the 49th annual Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards ...

The award, one of 14 distributed at this year's ceremonies in New York, was the second du Pont Silver Baton for Baskin, who won in 1987 for investigative reports on alcoholic pilots and "testing the drug testers" ...

Yesterday, Baskin and WJLA were cited for her nine "NFL Drug Testing: Illegal Procedure" investigative reports that began airing two days before Super Bowl XXIV and quickly became the biggest story out of the game ...

According to the DuPont-Columbia citation: "Rarely does an investigative report on a local station attract the kind of national attention that this series on the drug-testing policies of the NFL unleashed. In {her WJLA reports} Baskin details faulty laboratory practices and discriminatory enforcement of policy by the NFL's chief drug adviser, Dr. Forest Tennant. Revealing a situation untouched by sports reporters, WJLA's consumer affairs reporter broke this story outside the locker room. Within a month the NFL's drug adviser resigned" ...

Also named in the citation was producer Joan Martelli. Baskin also credits WJLA cameraman Pete Hakel and editor Joy Galane for her win ...

The PBS series "Inside Gorbachev's USSR With Hedrick Smith" won the Gold Baton, the highest award ...

Other major TV winners included "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" for a series on the social and environmental problems in Eastern Europe; ABC News for "Peter Jennings Reporting: From the Killing Fields," an investigative report on the Khmer Rouge's return to power in Cambodia; and NBC News for a "Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" series on the continuing problems of poverty and alcoholism on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota ...

Also getting Silver Batons were Christine Choy, Renee Tajima, WTVS in Detroit and the PBS series "P.O.V." for "Who Killed Vincent Chin?"; Frederick Wiseman for his six-hour "Near Death"; and Blackside Inc. for "Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads" ...

Two awards were also made in the radio category ...

Six of the 14 awards last night -- chosen from more than 600 submissions for programs aired between July 1, 1989, and June 30, 1990 -- went to either public TV or public radio stations ...

In Other NewsChannel 4 announced yesterday that weathercaster Bob Ryan, who has been with WRC for nearly 10 years, has signed another long-term, multi-year contract, which probably qualifies him as a bellwethercaster ...

Lori Butterfield, formerly with Associated Press, Worldnet and CNN, has joined Five's "Fox Morning News" as line producer. She replaces Joe DeFeo, who has moved to Baltimore's Fox affiliate, Channel 45, as executive producer of that independent's upcoming news operation ...

Which reminds us: Five's Lark McCarthy, backed by commentators William Bennett and Chris Matthews, anchored coverage of the State of the Union address, which was fed to Fox's six other owned stations and other Fox affiliates ...

Overheard at the International House of Pies: Pat Buchanan, cohost (with Michael Kinsley) of "Crossfire" and moderator of "The Capital Gang," has signed a new contract with Cable News Network ...

TV RATINGZZZZ

Following are the top 20 network prime-time shows last week, ranked according to the percentage of the nation's 93.1 milllion TV households that watched, as measured by the A.C. Nielsen Co. A share represents the percentage of actual sets-in-use tuned to a particular program when it aired.

RATINGS...............................SHARE...NETWORK

1.....41.8.......Super Bowl XXV..........63.......ABC

2.....25.7.......Super Bowl Postgame.....39.......ABC

3.....21.1.......Cheers..................31.......NBC

4.....19.4.......Roseanne................27.......ABC

5.....18.9.......Murphy Brown............27.......CBS

6.....18.4.......Empty Nest..............31.......NBC

7.....18.2.......The Golden Girls........31.......NBC

8.....17.5.......Full House..............28.......ABC

9.....16.9.......The Cosby Show..........25.......NBC

......16.9.......Coach...................24.......ABC

11....16.7.......Unsolved Mysteries......25.......NBC

12....16.5.......Major Dad...............24.......CBS

13....16.0.......Rescue 911..............23.......CBS

14....15.9.......Good Sports (Mon.)......24.......CBS

15....15.5.......Lonesome Dove (Weds.)...25.......CBS

......15.5.......Davis Rules.............25.......ABC

17....15.4.......Lonesome Dove (Thurs.)..24.......CBS

18....14.9.......The Wonder Years........23.......ABC

......14.9.......Wings...................22.......NBC

......14.9.......Family Matters (Tues.)..21.......ABC

ABC was the easy winner last week thanks to the Super Bowl. But five-year champion NBC continues in the doldrums, finishing third for the second week in a row -- the first time that's happened since January 1985 ...

For the week, ABC averaged a 15.6/25, compared with a 12.1/19 for CBS, an 11.6/18 for NBC and a 6.2/10 for FOX ...

ABC's winning margin over second-place CBS was the biggest of the season and narrowed the season-to-date even more. NBC now averages a 12.8 since September, compared with ABC's 12.6, CBS's 12.3 and FOX's 6.3 as the Super Bowl week helped ABC narrow the overall gap by three-tenths of a point ...

Audiences for the all-New York NFL finale between the Bills and Giants were 7 percent up from last year's game on CBS but considerably below the 49.1/73 of the S.F.-Cincinnati game (XVI) in 1981 ...

ABC estimated that 114 million saw all or part of the game, while the average audience was 79.3 million viewers ...

CBS's rerun of "Lonesome Dove" averaged a 14.9/24 over four evenings. That network, by the way, has been first once and second four times in the past five weeks as NBC loses its competitive edge ...

Now This At a recent meeting of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board, three executives were promoted to senior vice president: treasurer Frederick L. DeMarco; Eugene Katt, in charge of programming; and Paul E. Symczak, general counsel and secretary ...

The board also approved a new position of vice president, education, but no choice has been made ...

Our spies report that when John Sawhill, who reports Feb. 18 from WJAR in Providence as WJLA's new president, met with some WJLA news staffers here recently he made the point that as station manager at WNAC in Boston in the late '70s, he oversaw a news staff of 150, while his successful news operation at WJAR, with the same number (five) of daily news programs, now gets along with just 47 ...

That chilled the WJLA newsies, who have already seen their own rosters reduced from about 120 to well below 100 in recent months ...

You won't be a bit surprised to learn that news viewership continues to climb as the Persian Gulf War unfolds ...

For the week ending Jan. 25, "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" averaged a 13.4 rating and a 22 share, compared with an 11.8/20 for "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" and a 10.8/18 for "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" ...

That combined 36 rating was the highest for the three networks since the week of Jan. 11, 1988. And the one-point margin was NBC's largest over CBS since September 1987, the week before Nielsen introduced its "peoplemeters" nationwide and plummeted NBC from first to third, seemingly on a permanent basis ...

Since the gulf crisis began, NBC, which had been challenging CBS, has moved ahead of the Rather program ...

Steve Friedman, executive producer of "Nightly News," was almost reluctant to crow about the upward move. But he did allow that "you're defined by how you're doing with the big story. We've been struggling for the last two or three months to get ahead of Dan Rather and it's a good start for us" ...

Friedman is particularly proud that four members of the "Nightly" reporting staff -- Fred Francis at the Pentagon, Arthur Kent in Saudi Arabia, Martin Fletcher in Israel and Dennis Murphy in Jordan -- are receiving favorable mentions from the competition ...

"People are getting to know them," said Friedman, "and that has to help us in the long run." He praised Jennings and Ted Koppel of ABC News but suggested none of the other ABCers has made a particular impact on the public ...

The expanded "NBC Nightly News," incidentally, has gone to a 6:30 start time in New York to compete directly with ABC and CBS news shows in the biggest market. In Washington, the second half-hour of "Nightly" is outdrawing previous audiences for "Family Feud," which has been banished from 7:30 to very late night for the interim ...

At CBS News meanwhile, management reports no new developments in the troubling disappearance of correspondent Bob Simon and his three-person crew, missing from Saudi Arabia for more than a week ...

The network was cheered by French journalists who have put together a petition to be forwarded to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein urging help in finding Simon and his crew. The quartet was in a car found abandoned last Thursday some 300 miles northwest of Dhahran, near the Kuwaiti border ...

ABC News, incidentally, is beginning to rotate some of its correspondents. Sam Donaldson is due to return from Saudi Arabia, while Jim Wooten and Barry Serafin head for the gulf region. The network had originally planned on three-month stays but the round-the-clock coverage is exhausting ...

The American Music Awards on ABC Monday night averaged a very strong 20.4/31 from 8 to 11. CBS, despite the appearance of Tyne Daly with old sidekick Sharon Gless on "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill" (12.4/20), averaged a 13.3/20 for the night, while NBC did a 12.7/19 ...