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North Country Public Radio News Department Recognized with Two National Awards (6/14/05)

North Country Public Radio’s news team is the recipient of two national awards for broadcast journalism.

The Radio and Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) has named NCPR the 2005 recipient of a national Edward R. Murrow Award for broadcast excellence. NCPR’s news team was selected for their outstanding continuing coverage of the Iraq war. NCPR was a recent regional Murrow Award winner for the same coverage. Regional winners are automatically entered into the national award competition. Seventy-five national winners were chosen from a pool of 3,390 entries.

“Though NCPR is a rural station, with a small news staff and no opportunity to send a reporter to Iraq, we decided early on that the war demanded an aggressive and nuanced journalistic response,” said News Director Martha Foley. “We wanted our listeners to hear – regularly – from real people affected by the war. We recruited a team of commentators and diarists to provide the deepest possible insights into life on the front lines and at home. NCPR’s reporters worked to draw a balanced, complex portrait of the conflict and the ripples it sent through our region.”

The collection of stories included moments of pain and passion: a field funeral for an American soldier north of Baghdad; a homecoming for National Guardsmen; a wife keeping her family together while her husband is far away; a proud soldier talking of his contribution to Iraq’s future; an Army chaplain describing his encounter with a grieving Iraqi; a peace activist describing her sense of isolation; a mother terrified for her son’s safety; another mother raging over her son’s death.

An audio diary series featuring Lt. Colonel Eric Olsen, Brigade Chaplain of the 2-108th Infantry Battalion of the New York Army National Guard, was an integral part of the collection. Olsen was recently honored as NCPR’s Volunteer of the Year for his contribution.

“We believe that the Iraq war posed new problems and opportunities for journalists. Our news team responded by taking risks, by devoting new resources, and by challenging ourselves daily to find sources willing to go deeper than sound bites and body counts,” said Foley.

Listen to our Iraq war coverage.

NCPR’s news department was also recognized by the Casey Journalism Center on Chldren and Families. The Casey Awards honor distinguished coverage of children and families, particularly the disadvantaged. Martha Foley, David Sommerstein, Brian Mann and Todd Moe were honored for Close to Homeless, an in-depth look at the lives of low-income individuals and families facing the threat of homelessness.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this recognition, considering our news department was judged against entries from across the country, from stations of all sizes, including major cities,” said Station Manager Ellen Rocco. “Both of these awards recognize the work of our entire news team and many community collaborators.”

Listen to the Close to Homeless series.

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