WUSF Wins Three Regional Murrow Awards For Election, Health Coverage
WUSF was recognized for its coverage of the 2020 presidential election, along with an Excellence in Innovation award for "The State We're In" and an award in the News Series category for "Committed," a look at Florida's Baker Act.
Journalism produced by WUSF Public Media and its Health News Florida collaborative were honored with three Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards on Thursday.
Reporters, producers, hosts and editors from the WUSF newsroom were recognized in two categories in the Large Market Radio division: Continuing Coverage and Excellence in Innovation. Health News Florida won in the Small Market Radio News Series category.
The Murrow Awards are among the most prestigious broadcast awards in the United States, and winners in the regional competitions will vie for national awards to be announced later this year. WUSF competes in Region 13, which includes news produced in the states of Florida and Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Continuing Coverage award recognizes the collective work of WUSF news staff for stories and newscasts produced in connection to the 2020 presidential election. The content all year was intentionally voter-centric, and not focused on the political horse race.
Examples included feature stories on:
- the Iowa Caucus taking place in Florida
- Republican women supporting President Trump
- how Florida seniors were voting in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic
- the Hispanic Vote in the Tampa Bay and Central Florida region.
An election day newscast, live election night coverage and a segment from WUSF’s Florida Matters public affairs show filled out the entry.
Team members contributing to that coverage included: reporters Steve Newborn and Cathy Carter; news anchor Susan Giles Wantuck; Florida Matters host and reporter Bradley George; Florida Matters producer Dinorah Prevost; Assistant Program Director Jose Jimenez, Assistant News Director Mark Schreiner and News Director Mary Shedden.
The Excellence in Innovation award was given to “The State We’re In” created by WUSF and its collaborative partners at WMFE in Orlando and the national public media community engagement initiative called America Amplified.
In April 2020, the team took just two weeks to develop a Facebook Live show to reach people who might not tune into public radio stations or other traditional media, providing the community a trusted link to information at a time when most of the state and country was shut down.
For 16 consecutive weeks, The State We’re In featured in-the-moment information about coronavirus, difficult conversations about racial justice and fact-based information about voting. The conversation with experts and everyday people allowed viewers the chance to ask questions and share their experiences.
Between August and November, attention at The State We’re In shifted to the upcoming election. Those conversations focused on talking directly with voters, answering their questions and dispelling misinformation. The team also increased the sharing of “voter guide’-like information on Facebook for voters.
WUSF journalists involved in this project included Producer Dinorah Prevost, Host Bradley George, reporter Steve Newborn, Digital News Editor Carl Lisciandrello and News Director Mary Shedden.
WMFE staffers who contributed to The State We're In include Host and Interim News Director Matthew Peddie, health reporter Abe Aboraya, Digital Manager Ryan Ellison, Communications and Marketing Specialist Jenny Babcock, and reporter Joe Byrnes.
Health News Florida’s work with WFSU Public Media also has been recognized with a Regional Murrow Award in the News Series category for “Committed,” a look at Florida’s Baker Act, which allows Floridians to be involuntarily committed for psychiatric exams. The 50- year-old law was not created with kids in mind, but the series explained that they are the fastest-growing group that's being committed.
The project, edited by Health News Florida Editor Julio Ochoa and reported on by WFSU journalist Lynn Hatter, was conceived and produced as a project for the Fund for Journalism on Child Well-Being, a program of the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism’s 2020 National Fellowship.