|University of South Florida licensed broadcaster honored for digital projects and coverage of COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 national electio
|TAMPA, Fla. (May 6, 2021) – Announced this morning, WUSF Public Media has been honored with three Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, recognizing the extraordinary work of reporters, producers, hosts and editors who bring news and information to this region. The WUSF newsroom was recognized in two categories in the Large Market Radio Division: Continuing Coverage and Excellence in Innovation, while the Health News Florida project won in the Small Market Radio News Series category.
Granted by the Radio Television Digital News Association, 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 a region that includes Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“I am extremely proud of our staff,” said WUSF General Manager JoAnn Urofsky. “The past year has been truly extraordinary, and the news team stepped up to the challenge to inform and enlighten the residents of our state about the most vital issues we’ve seen in years – a contentious election, a worldwide pandemic and economic turmoil we have not seen in several generations. What’s more, their innovation has brought our residents into the news process to make our public broadcasting service all-the-more inclusive, digital, diverse and impactful.”
The Continuing Coverage award recognizes the collective work of WUSF news staff for stories and newscasts produced in connection to the 2020 presidential election. WUSF content was intentionally voter-centric, and not focused on the political horse race. Examples included feature stories on the satellite meetings of the Iowa Caucus taking place in Florida, Republican women supporting President Trump, how Florida seniors were voting in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, and 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 conversations with experts and Florida residents allowed Facebook Live viewers the chance to ask questions and share their experiences.
Between August and November, attention of “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 information on Facebook.
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.
Health News Florida’s work with WFSU Public Media was also 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. While the law was not originally designed with children in mind, the special series revealed how children are the fastest-growing group 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.
|Media Contact:Richard Mullins firstname.lastname@example.org O: 813.228.0652 x1127 M: 813-992-8139 About WUSF Public MediaWUSF Public Media is a comprehensive media organization that serves the community and businesses through public broadcasting, digital resources and multi-media production services. Licensed to the University of South Florida, WUSF Public Media has been serving the public interest through programming, educational engagement and community partnerships for 58 years. For more information, visit www.wusf.org.