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JPR News Wins 4 Regional, 3 National Awards

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UPDATED JUNE 27: The Jefferson Public Radio newsroom is among the winners of the 2020 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. The Murrows are presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) to recognize outstanding broadcast and online journalism.

JPR won in the Feature Reporting, Hard News and News Series categories in RTDNA's NW small market division. That's made up of public and commercial radio stations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. This is the third year running JPR has won in the Hard News category.

JPR was also recognized by the Associated Press Television and Radio Association (APTRA).The Associated Press award for News Feature was chosen from among submissions by small market public and commercial radio stations in the 13 western states, including California, Oregon and Washington.

The national awards were given by the Public Media Journalists Association, the professional organization until recently known as the Public Radio News Directors Inc. JPR won First Place for Best Series, as well as the second place prize for Investigative/Enterprise reporting. The Jefferson Exchange took second place in Best News/Public Affairs program.

"I'm thrilled to see the JPR news department recognized once again for its journalistic excellence," stated JPR Executive Director Paul Westhelle. "Thanks to the support of our listeners, we've made a major investment during the last year expanding the capacity of our newsroom to create better, deeper local journalism for citizens of our region. These awards acknowledge that commitment as well as the dedication of the talented JPR journalists who work each day to create a better informed public."

The RTDNA has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Awards are presented to news organizations whose work demonstrates the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession of broadcast and digital journalism.

Listen to the winning entries:

Hard News

Bulldozers In The Wilderness: Are They Worth The Environmental Cost?
by Liam Moriarty

Federally designated wilderness areas are strictly protected. So it raised eyebrows last summer when fire managers brought bulldozers and other heavy equipment into wilderness areas to fight wildfires in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

News Feature

Ashland’s EJ Holland Continues Oregon Running Legacy
by Erik Neumann

At the State of Jefferson cross-country meet in Ashland’s Lithia Park, the tangy smell of trampled grass hangs in the air. Lanky teenagers sprint the last few hundred yards to the race finish line while parents and classmates cheer from the edge of the course.
(This story won both a Murrow and an APTRA award)

Investigative/Enterprise

For Rogue Valley Seniors Needing Mental Health Treatment, Medicare Offers Little Help
by Erik Neumann

Access to mental health services is a challenge for many in Jackson County, including a growing number of older adults on Medicare facing barriers to treatment because of their insurance. With the Rogue Valley a destination for retirees, and more older adults on average living with depression in Jackson County than the rest of the state, it’s an issue that some experts say is likely to get worse.

News Series

Oppressed By Wildfire
by April Ehrlich

Jefferson Public Radio spent months speaking to families in Northern California about how wildfires impact them. We found that wildfires leave the most long-lasting impacts on marginalized populations — including people of Latino and Native American descent, people who are homeless, and people with disabilities. The key issue is that wildfire response and preparation systems weren’t designed with these communities in mind.
(This series won both a Murrow and a first place PMJA award.)

News/Public Affairs Program

Emergency Managers Consider Wildfire Evacuation Procedures
by the Jefferson Exchange team

The destructive fire seasons of recent years have focused attention anew on evacuation. Plans for getting people away from fires were not adequate in both Paradise and Redding last year.
Now emergency managers are reconsidering evacuation planning on both sides of the state line.

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Regional Murrow winners are automatically entered in the national Edward R. Murrow competition. National winners will be announced in June.