Pubradio contenders dominate radio division of Sigma Delta Chi Awards

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.

Center for Investigative Reporting launches “I Files” YouTube channel

The Berkeley, Calif.-based Center for Investigative Reporting unveiled its new YouTube channel, The I Files, today. The channel, funded by the Knight Foundation, will be curated by CIR and will repost investigative-reporting videos from a wide assortment of content partners. Among the partners is the Investigative News Network, a consortium of 60 nonprofit news organizations that includes American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Among CIR’s for-profit partners: The BBC, ABC News, The New York Times and Al Jazeera. The channel will include videos from freelance journalists as well.

Knight seeds investigative news channel on YouTube

The nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting is launching an investigative news channel on YouTube to serve as a hub for investigative journalism. The Knight Foundation provided an $800,000 grant to start the channel. The center, based in Berkeley, Calif., announced on April 11 [2012] that the channel will feature videos from commercial and noncommercial broadcasters and independent producers, including NPR, ITVS, ABC News, the New York Times, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Center for Public Integrity and American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop. The center plans to add contributors and seek submissions from freelance journalists and independent filmmakers from around the world. “One of the goals of this partnership will be to raise the profile and visibility of high-impact storytelling through video,” said Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the center.

Bay Area news nonprofits consider merging

Two high-profile news nonprofits in the San Francisco area, The Bay Citizen and the Center for Investigative Reporting, will make a final decision early next month about whether they’ll merge. If they do, job losses appear certain. The two announced Feb. 7 they had signed a formal letter of intent to merge and have given their respective boards 30 days to approve or reject the merger. If the boards consent, management of The Bay Citizen will be turned over to the Berkeley-based CIR, whose board chairman, Phil Bronstein, would become executive chair of the combination, The Bay Citizen reported.