Presented by NPR’s Scott Simon in Cleveland June 22, Public Radio News Directors Inc. honored the best local public radio news in 16 categories based on the size of stations’ newsroom staff. In addition, PRNDI recognized stations for standout news reporting edited by a national producer; these awards were presented in several categories without consideration of newsroom size. Top winners among this year’s contenders were Colorado Public Radio, Chicago’s WBEZ, WUOT of Knoxville, Tenn., and WBGO in Newark, N.J., which each received four first-place awards in their divisions. Miami’s WLRN and WBFO in Buffalo, N.Y., both topped three categories. CPR, WBEZ, and WLRN competed amongst stations with the largest newsrooms: Division A, for newsrooms staffed by five or more full-time journalists.
WLRN in Miami won large-market radio Murrows for feature reporting and use of sound. Chicago’s WBEZ also won for news documentary and hard-news reporting. The award for investigative reporting went to KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting, both based in San Francisco, for “Broken Shield: Exposing Abuses at California Developmental Centers.”
Public radio reporters took all nine awards for radio reporting in this year’s Sigma Delta Chi Awards, which recognize outstanding reporting on radio, TV and the Web by national and local news organizations. NPR’s Ina Jaffe, Quinn O’Toole and Steven Drummond won for breaking news reporting (network syndication) for “Los Angeles VA Has Made Millions on Rental Deals.” For investigative reporting, John Ryan and Jim Gates of KUOW in Seattle were cited among stations in markets 1–100 for “Shell’s Arctic Oil-Spill Gear ‘Crushed Like a Beer Can,’” while Sandy Hausman of WVTF and Radio IQ in Roanoke, Va., won in the 101+ market category for “Naming the Fralin,” about naming the University of Virginia Art Museum. In the feature categories, Linda Lutton, Cate Cahan and Sally Eisele of Chicago’s WBEZ won for “The weight of the city’s violence, on one school principal,” and Lance Orozco of KCLU in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for “My Cancer.”
NPR’s State of the Re:Union, co-distributed by Public Radio Exchange, won the syndicated documentary award for “As Black as We Wish to Be,” which explored an Appalachian foothills town in Ohio where residents who look white identify as African-American; it was reported and produced by Lu Olkowski, Laura Spero, Taki Telonidis and Al Letson. Alabama Public Radio’s “Winds of Change,” coverage by Pat Duggins, Ryan Vasquez, Maggie Martin and Stan Ingold of a Tuscaloosa tornado, won for smaller-market documentary. The public service in radio journalism winners were “If it’s legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life,” by the staff of Seattle’s KPLU (markets 1–100); Charles Lane and Naomi Starobin of WSHU in Fairfield, Conn., for “State struggled at fire prevention ahead of Manorville blaze.”
In the television categories, San Francisco’s KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting won for large-market (1–50) documentary for “Heat and Harvest,” a report on the effect of climate change on California agriculture by Mark Schapiro, Serene Fang, Gabriela Quiros and Craig Miller.
NPR stations won 82 large-market regional Murrow Awards, while small-market pubcasters captured 91. Among all stations, WLRN in Miami topped public radio’s regional winners by taking 11 awards in 13 Murrow categories: overall excellence, breaking news, continuing coverage, feature reporting, investigative reporting, news documentary, new series, hard-news reporting, use of sound, writing and website. “We feel thrilled and humbled by the honor,” said Dan Grech, news director. “I couldn’t be prouder of the team.”
Four additional large-market pubcasters each won six Murrows: KQED in San Francisco, WBEZ in Chicago, KUT in Austin and WBUR in Boston. And four large-market stations each won four Murrows: KUOW in Seattle; St.
Dubbed the “2032 Membership Drive,” the station’s newest citywide marketing blitz encourages young “interesting people” to “make babies” who will grow up listening to public radio. The ads appear on billboards and buses; a Facebook app created for the campaign has a matchmaking feature to help curious listeners connect.