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Canton, NY, Thursday, April 17, 2008 - North Country Public Radio has been honored with five 2008 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence from the Radio and Television News Directors Association (RTNDA). NCPR's five awards represent the most wins in its region.
RTNDA received 3,459 entries from regions across the country. Judges gave awards in 14 categories, including overall excellence, spot news, continuing coverage and investigative reporting, among others. The stories honored represent the broad reach of NCPR's regional news department: hard news, human interest, newscast and use of sound.
The first award was received for Best Continuing Coverage for Assistant News Director and Reporter David Sommerstein's year-long series, Immigration in the North Country. From Congress' failure to pass immigration reform, to former Governor Spitzer's failed drivers' license plan, North Country Public Radio went beyond the headline news to produce in-depth reports and series on how immigration affects people in the North Country. Sommerstein's reports followed immigration issues closely, especially on area farms.
NCPR was also honored for Best Hard News Feature for Hydropower Comes at a Cost for the Cree. Adirondack Bureau Chief, Brian Mann traveled to far northern Quebec where the province's power company, Hydro-Quebec, is moving forward with the latest in a series of monumental hydroelectric projects, one that will uproot and re-channel the Rupert River. Supporters say it's an engineering feat that rivals the Trans-Alaska pipeline, and it will supply cheap, lower-carbon electricity to consumers in New York State and Vermont. Mann found the Rupert River is sacred to the Cree who live nearby.
All Before Five, NCPR's newest news program, won for Best Newscast. Every weekday at 4:45 PM, reporter and host Jonathan Brown brings the region up to date on the day's news and NCPR's most interesting stories. The award-winning show dated from August 21, 2007. It featured David Sommerstein reporting on villagers' opposition to Wal-Mart's request for village sewage lines for a new supercenter and Jonathan Brown's nighttime encounter with bats during a study at Fort Drum.
The fourth award was given for Best News Series for Farm to Farm, Family to Family. In January 2007, David Sommerstein traveled with a group of northern New York dairy farmers to a mountain town in Mexico called Malacatepec. Names like Lowville, Carthage, and Utica are as familiar there as they are here. His three-part series brought the story to life, examining the complex issue from the perspectives of the farmers, the workers, and a North Country town being introduced to its first migrant workers.
The final award was given for Best Use of Sound for Winter Dash to Avalanche Lake. In the High Peaks last winter, snow covered the trails and temperatures plunged to double-digits below zero. Brian Mann snuck away for a day with his friend Bob Martin, from Saranac Lake, to ski the trail to Avalanche Pass. Brian sent an audio postcard that skillfully used the sounds of the day to put listeners right on the trail.
RTDNA has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow's pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession.
Regional winners automatically become eligible for the national awards competition, which will be judged in early June.
North Country Public Radio has won numerous Regional awards in past years, and two National Edward R. Murrow awards. The first National Murrow came in 2005 for continuing coverage of the Iraq War, in Iraq and back home. In 2007, the station won the Best Sports Reporting Award, for Brian Mann's story on rugby in the Adirondacks. All of NCPR's winning news stories can be heard on our website.