RTDNA Awards Recognize Excellence in Local Journalism

BOSTON – (April 23, 2019) --- Building on its reputation for trusted local journalism, WGBH News has been awarded five 2019 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for coverage of topics ranging from illicit massage parlors across the state to a man rebuilding his life in Lowell after he was wrongfully imprisoned for nearly 40 years. WCAI, The Cape, Coast and Islands NPR station and part of the WGBH Educational Foundation, also secured a 2019 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for its story on education and the changing demographics of Cape Cod.

Awarded by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), the Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards pay tribute to important and impactful local journalism and are among the most prestigious awards in the news industry. Regional winners automatically advance to the national Edward R. Murrow Awards, which are judged in June.

“At WGBH, we strive to deliver impactful stories to local audiences and to contextualize the issues most important in our communities,” said WGBH News Director Kate Zachry. “The Murrow awards demonstrate our commitment to excellence in local coverage that engages Massachusetts audiences. We’re especially proud that these wins recognized the strengths in digital, multi-media and investigative reporting across our integrated newsroom.”

The five Murrow Awards won in 2019 are the most ever awarded to WGBH in a single year. The 2019 honorees include:

· WGBH News and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR) won in the category of Best News Series, for “ Wrongfully Jailed for 38 Years, Fred Clay Rebuilds His Life in Lowell.” Reporter Chris Burrell spent a year following up with the wrongfully convicted man as he adjusted to society after decades behind bars. Burrell brought fresh attention to the story as Clay sought and won a million-dollar wrongful incarceration settlement with the state of Massachusetts. Editor Aaron Schachter, Investigations Editor Paul Singer and photographer Meredith Nierman were also honored for their work on the series.

· In the category of Best Investigative Reporting, NECIR Senior Investigations Reporter Jenifer McKim and WGBH News Senior Investigative Reporter Phillip Martin were honored for their five-part investigation “ The Business of Illicit Massage.” WGBH News’ sustained attention on the practice of using massage parlors as a front for prostitution coincided with extensive investigations by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Executive Producer Aaron Schachter and photographer Meredith Nierman received recognition for this award as well.

· Digital Producer Emily Judem and Reporter Gabrielle Emanuel were honored in the category of Excellence in Digital Video for “ Fifty Years Ago, Black Students at Brown Walked Out for Change.” This video accompanied a story about a Civil Rights demonstration at Brown University in 1968, marrying the voices of the original activists to a letter they wrote to the school administration.

· Emily Rooney, Host and Executive Editor of Beat the Press, won the top award in the category of Excellence in Writing for her self-reflective work. These features include Rooney’s recollections on the 5th anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing; the Blizzard of 1978, 40 years later; and the death of a local media titan, Stephen Mindich. WGBH News Managing Editor Jeff Keating served as Rooney’s editor on the series.

· WGBH News also received the top honor in the category of Best Multimedia Presentation for WGBHNews.org. Among the wide-ranging portfolio of digital stories submitted for consideration for this award were WGBH News’ downloadable guide to the 2018 Massachusetts state ballot questions, a photo series of two Massachusetts congressional campaigns, a year-long historical retrospective titled “1968 + 50,” and an interactive series of charts breaking down Thanksgiving by the numbers in the Commonwealth.

· WCAI won in the category of Hard News for reporter Sarah Mizes-Tan’s story “ When Nobody Enrolls in 6th Grade” which examines how a public elementary school in Truro is coping with Cape Cod’s demographic shift toward elderly, childless and seasonal residents. WCAI News Director Steve Junker served as the editor for this piece.

About WGBH News
WGBH News is among the fastest growing local news providers in greater Boston and draws on the talent of a multi-platform newsroom that includes 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR, television and digital reporting. The WGBH newsroom continues to invest in substantive local coverage and has established dedicated desks for innovation, higher education and politics as well as unique partnerships to expand on that commitment, including with WNYC’s The Takeaway, PRI’s The World, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, and The GroundTruth Project.

About WGBH
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a major supplier of programming for public radio and a partner with Public Radio International (PRI). As a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom, WGBH supplies content to PBS LearningMedia, a national broadband service for teachers and students. WGBH also is a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at www.wgbh.org.