Pat Duggins

News Director

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.  If his name or voice are familiar, it could be his twenty five years covering the U.S. space program on NPR.  Pat’s NASA experience began with the explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986, and includes 103 missions.  Many NPR listeners recall Pat’s commentary during Weekend Edition Saturday on February 1, 2003 when Shuttle Columbia broke apart and burned up during re-entry.  His expertise was utilized during three hours of live and unscripted coverage with NPR’s Scott Simon.  Pat later wrote two books about NASA, Final Countdown: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program and Trailblazing Mars, both of which have been released as audio books.  Pat has also lectured about the future of the space program at Harvard, and writes about international space efforts for "Modern Weekly" magazine in Shanghai, China.

Duggins experience goes beyond NASA.  He led the APR news team through the tornadoes of 2011.  Along with dawn to dusk rescue and recovery updates, the news crew also provided national and international coverage for the BBC in London, MSNBC, CBC in Canada, and Australia Broadcasting in Sydney and Melbourne.  Duggins’ efforts, and that of the APR news team, were twice recognized with National Sigma Delta Chi awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. The Radio Television Digital News Association also honored Pat and the team with a national Edward R. Murrow Award for overall excellence. The Alabama Associated Press also recognized APR as the "Most Outstanding News Organization" in 2011 and 2012. And, Duggins' news series on the long-term impact of the Gulf oil spill won a national PRNDI award for best series from the Public Radio News Directors' Association, and a regional Murrow. 

Pat’s work isn’t limited to radio, with regular appearances on TV.  He also conducts interview/profile segments for "Alabama, Inc." a new University of Alabama TV series on business on airs statewide on Alabama Public Television. Pat also co-hosted “Your Vote Counts,” a program featuring college-age voters who critiqued the final debate between Robert Bentley and Ron Sparks in the 2011 race for Alabama Governor. 

Since his arrival at APR, Pat and the team have won more than forty awards for excellence in journalism, including a second national Sigma Delta Chi award and the national Gabriel award. Duggins is also the recipient of a Suncoast Regional Emmy.

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Politics & Government
6:46 am
Sat May 24, 2014

State to look for school immigration violations

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Schools Superintendent Tommy Bice says school officials are reviewing a letter from the Southern Poverty Law Center that complained enrollment practices by 96 Alabama school systems violate federal prohibitions against denying or discouraging enrollment based on immigration status of parents. Bice said Friday school officials will have a response and suggested resolutions to confirmed violations by the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. The SPLC had complained that in some cases, school enrollment forms require a Social Security number or a U.S.

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Award Entries
8:59 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Most Outstanding News Operation: Alabama Public Radio

FBI Evidence Response Team arrives in Birmingham following the crash of a UPS Cargo jet
APR

Early in the morning, on August 14, 2013, some residents of Birmingham were jolted out of bed by the impact. Others saw the fiery flash. Still more smelled the fumes of jet fuel. A United Parcel Service Airbus A300 cargo jet had crashed just short of the runway at Birmingham/Shuttlesworth International Airport. The Alabama Public Radio covered the story from the initial reports, the perspective of witnesses at the scene, worried homeowners who were left coughing from the fuel spill, to investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI Evidence Recovery Team.

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Award Entries
8:55 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Best Writing-- "Civil Rights Radio" Alabama Public Radio

Birmingham News/Birmingham Bar Foundation

AUDIO CLIP AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE

2013 afforded a singular opportunity to examine the fiftieth anniversary of key events related to the civil rights movement in Alabama. 1963 was marked by the “stand in the school house door” in Tuscaloosa and the bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, as well as a demonstration that set the tone for 1963 known as the “children’s march.”

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Award Entries
8:54 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Best Regularly Scheduled Newscast-- Alabama Public Radio

APR

The morning of August 14, 2013, a UPS cargo jet crashed landed just short of the runway at Birmingham/Shuttlesworth International Airport. Alabama Public Radio newscaster Ryan Vasquez brought our listeners the latest on the investigation, as well as the evacuation of the State Attorney General's office due to suspicious white powder found inside an envelope. Victims of Alabama's on-going drought also face a deadline to apply for relief from the Small Business Administration.

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Award Entries
8:54 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Best Investigative Reporting: "Civil Rights and the Press" Alabama Public Radio

Birmingham News/ Birmingham Bar Foundation

AUDIO CLIP AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE

Alabama Public Radio spent a year producing and airing stories on the 50th anniversary of key events during the civil rights movement in Alabama. This includes reporter Ryan Vaquez three part series "Civil Rights and the Press" which looked back on how the media covered these moments, or failed to.

CIVIL RIGHTS MEDIA – PART 1 04-22-13

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Award Entries
8:53 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Best Anchor--Ryan Vasquez, Alabama Public Radio

On August 13, 2013, APR news anchor Ryan Vasquez updated our audience on the UPS cargo jet crash at Birmingham/Shuttlesworth International Airport, which left the flight crew dead and local residents asking questions about safety. The same day, the Alabama Attorney General's office was evacuated when an envelope containing a white powder was opened. Finally, Ryan reported on the approaching deadline for residents to apply for loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration due to Alabama's on-going drought.

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Arts & Life
7:14 am
Fri May 2, 2014

"Tornado Tally" for Alabama

6 am Newscast

Friday May 2, 2014

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Arts & Life
5:34 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Flooding a Concern again today

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Heavy rains are causing flash floods on the Alabama coast as the state remains under threat of possible tornadoes and other severe weather. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for Mobile County until 6 a.m. Tuesday, saying the area received up to 3 inches of rain in an hour and could accumulate up to 3 inches more before daybreak. Alabama Power said blackouts affected more than 11,000 customers in the Mobile area Tuesday morning. Most of Alabama is under a flash flood watch with 1 to 3 inches of additional rain accumulation possible.

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Arts & Life
1:21 pm
Sat April 26, 2014

Tuscaloosa Tornado: A look back "Revisiting Alberta"

Sunday marked three years since devestating tornadoes struck Alabama, including Tuscaloosa. The Alabama Public Radio news room is collaborating with journalism students at the University of Alabama who created a website as a class project. It contains news accounts and eyewitness accounts of the storm. APR contributed archival material of the newsroom's coverage.

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Arts & Life
1:18 pm
Sat April 26, 2014

Tuscaloosa tornado: A Look back "Crime Spikes"

In this story from the APR archives that we covered in 2011 following the Tuscaloosa tornado, reporter Stan Ingold looks at how crime spiked in the city, just after the storm hit.

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Arts & Life
4:09 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

Signs to point out Muscle Shoals Musical History

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (AP) — Signs will soon point visitors to The Shoals region toward the musical landmarks that made the area famous. Judy Sizemore, director of Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, said there are plans to place at least 10 signs in Muscle Shoals and others throughout the area. The TimesDaily reports that the sites focus on the region's music recording history, including the story of the FAME and the Muscle Shoals Sound recording studios. The signs are part of a larger project, The Roots of American Music Trail, and will feature the trail logo and a directional arrow.

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Arts & Life
7:45 am
Sat April 19, 2014

A peek at Football season--Alabama and Auburn hold scrimmages

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — It's football season in Alabama, at least for a day. Both Auburn and Alabama are holding their A-Day spring scrimmages Saturday. Alabama plays at 1 p.m., followed by Auburn at 2 p.m. Thousands of fans are expected at both Jordan-Hare Stadium and Bryant-Denny Stadium. While Auburn is charging $5 for non-students, admission is free at the Alabama scrimmage. In Auburn, tailbacks Corey Grant, Cameron Artis-Payne and redshirt freshman Peyton Barber are hoping to shine.

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Politics & Government
7:40 am
Sat April 19, 2014

Lights and Sirens around Dothan Nuclear Plant (Just an exercise)

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — Officials at the Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan are telling people not to get excited if they see a lot of law enforcement and emergency vehicles around the plant next week. It's only a drill. Farley official Cheryl Gayheart says the nuclear power plant will be conducting a hostile action exercise Wednesday afternoon along with federal, state and local emergency officials. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires nuclear power plants to conduct the exercises at least once every eight years.

Politics & Government
6:45 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Mercedes Benz faces Federal labor complaints

The National Labor Relations Board in Birmingham is hearing evidence against Mercedes Benz. Supporters of the United Auto Workers Union claim the German car maker is violating the rights of pro-union workers at its plant near Tuscaloosa. Alabama Public Radio’s Pat Duggins reports on day one of the hearing…

“Yes, I’ve been there and I was hand billing, and security surrounds you and they ask for your ID.”

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Award Entries
3:14 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Best Sports Reporter: Pat Duggins, Alabama Public Radio

The University of Alabama Crimson Tide faced the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in the 2013 BCS title game at Miami’s Orange Bowl. The rivalry between Tuscaloosa and South Bend was a sensitive subject for Tide fans, since Notre Dame beat Bama by a single point in the 1973 Sugar Bowl. Many Alabama supporters at the 2013 title game were in New Orleans forty years ago and remember the loss vividly. APR's Pat Duggins reported throughout the event, both on the field and off.

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