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
10:54 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

Gov Bentley: Integration of UA sororities "good first step"

APR

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Robert Bentley is praising progress in integrating the racially segregated Greek system at the University of Alabama. Bentley says it's a "positive first step" that a few traditionally white sororities have accepted minorities as members. The governor's office issued a brief statement late Friday after the university said four blacks and two other minority students have accepted invitations to join white sororities at Alabama. President Judy Bonner says she expects the numbers to increase as the school year continues in Tuscaloosa.

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Arts & Life
10:47 am
Wed September 18, 2013

UA students rally against campus racism

Protest sign during UA student rally against sorority racism
APR

With the sound of Denny Chimes in the background, there were more reporters than students for today’s planned anti-racism rally on the large grassy park, known as the “quad” at the University of Alabama--at least at first. A grassroots student campaign was begun shortly after reports surfaced in the campus newspaper "Crimson White" alleging that two African-American sorority candidates were rejected because of their race. Alabama student Archie Creech was part of the “boots on the ground” effort to get participation.

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Politics & Government
1:48 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

UA Board takes stand on sorority racism case

APR

The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama today issued a statement following allegations that two female African-American students were denied acceptance to two on-campus sororities because of their race.

Board President pro tem Paul Bryant, Junior said… “The Board of Trustees does not support the segregation of any organization at our institution on account of race. “We support the efforts of our administration to effect the change necessary to bring this principle to reality in the entire University of Alabama system.”

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Arts & Life
10:31 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Remembering 100 years of "Bear Bryant"

APR

This Wednesday will be the 100th birthday of legendary Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. The Center for Public Television and Radio at the University of Alabama will premiere a new documentary titled "Mama Called," on the life and times of "The Bear," Wednesday on WVUA-TV. Here are some memories of Coach Bryant...

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Politics & Government
2:12 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Tactics during School Board vote may violate State law

University of Wisconsin

A controversial election for School Board in the city of Tuscaloosa may have violated state law. Published reports state that fraternities and sororities on the campus of the University of Alabama offered free drinks to member students who participated in Tuesday’s election. The incentive was reportedly a wrist band which entitled the bearer to a free drink at a local restaurant. If the offer is proven to be true, that could be in violation of Alabama Code 17-17-39. APR asked the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University to study the issue.

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Arts & Life
5:22 am
Thu August 15, 2013

UPS cargo jet crash--the investigation begins...

Members of the FBI Evidence Recovery team arrive in Birmingham to investigate the crash of a UPS cargo jet
APR

26 members of the National Transportation Safety Board, and an FBI evidence recovery team, will fan out today at the site of Wednesday’s crash of a United Parcel Service Airbus A300 aircraft. Both pilots were killed in the accident, which knocked local residents out of bed just before 5 am. <P>“When I saw the big flash in front of the trees, I saw of the flash of the explosion,” says eyewitness Peter Torres. “And, the big banging, the big explosion."

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Politics & Government
2:01 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

Updating Alabama's "failed schools" list

istockphoto

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — State education officials say they expect to assemble a new list of failing schools before the end of the year. Alabama Department of Education spokeswoman Malissa Valdes-Hubert told AL.com test scores from last spring are likely to be released this fall and the data will help state officials recalculate schools' test scores. Valdes-Hubert says parents have until Jan. 1 to let schools know if they plan to transfer students based on the new failing schools list. She says parents are eligible for a $3,500 tax credit to help pay for private school tuition.

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Science & Health
1:47 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

AP: Childhood obesity still a problem in Alabama

istockphoto

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The launch of an initiative aimed at addressing childhood obesity in Alabama has slowed an increase of overweight children compared to other states, but hasn't improved Alabama's childhood obesity rate. The Montgomery Advertiser reported that obesity rates in Alabama's children and teens have increased by nearly 5 percent since 1999 despite an effort by the Alabama Department of Education to control what types of snacks are sold in vending machines on school campuses.

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Arts & Life
5:39 pm
Sun June 30, 2013

From Kitty Hawk to Montgomery...

Smithsonian Institution

When people go to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., they seem to have a checklist of what they want to see. At the National Air and Space Museum, visitors frequently start at the Apollo 11 capsule that carried astronauts to the Moon. After that, it’s the “Spirit of St. Louis,” that Charles Lindberg flew across the Atlantic. For many, the next stop is upstairs, to an airplane with tan canvas wings and a wooden frame, which flew for just twelve seconds.

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Arts & Life
9:42 am
Sun June 9, 2013

Alabama lumber producers protest "green" construction

istockphoto

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A small number of U.S. states are joining a fight against the nation's leading name in green building, saying its standards discourage builders from using wood grown in their own forests. The U.S. Green Building Council's program is called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. It's so popular it grants voluntary environmental certification to roughly 1.5 million square feet of new construction daily. But some governors and lawmakers say strict standards for what LEED considers sustainably grown wood are hurting growers in their states. Georgia Gov.

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Politics & Government
6:28 am
Sun June 9, 2013

Authorities in Cullman and Hanceville nab 58 in drug bust

istockphoto

CULLMAN, Ala. (AP) — Authorities in Cullman County have arrested nearly 60 people following an investigation into drug activity. The Cullman Times reports the county-wide roundup came after a six-month investigation by local law enforcement. Ninety warrants were served, and 58 people were arrested over a two-day period. The charges include distribution and manufacturing of a controlled substance, as well as a variety of lesser drug charges. Officers from the Cullman County Sheriff's Office, Cullman Police Department, and Hanceville Police Department participated in the effort.

Arts & Life
3:28 pm
Sat June 8, 2013

Black cemetery in Gadsden named historic site

City of Gadsden

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — A historic black cemetery in Gadsden has been named to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register. The Gadsden Times reports that the Alabama Historic Commission says the largely abandoned cemetery has been known by several names, including Sixth Street and Sunset, but Southern Hills is the most familiar. The earliest known headstone in the cemetery dates to 1888. The commission says burials at the cemetery stopped in the 1940s when the city took the neighborhood by eminent domain. Area residents moved to another part of town, abandoning the cemetery.

Politics & Government
6:36 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Governor Bentley defines the rules on school tax credits

istockphoto

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Robert Bentley says he believes Alabama's new private school tax credits should not apply to students who never enrolled in a failing school. Bentley says the tax credits should only apply to a student who transfers out of a failing school, but he says the final determination is up to the state Department of Revenue. He expects that to be done before school resumes in August. Exactly who will qualify for the tax credits has been in question since Bentley signed the Alabama Accountability Act in March.

Arts & Life
7:24 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

50 years since the "stand in the schoolhouse door"

University of Alabama

In June of 1963, Vivian Malone and James Hood finished the trail Autherine Lucy blazed. Lucy was the first African American to enroll at the University of Alabama in 1956. She lasted only a few days after facing segregationist protesters who burned an effigy copy of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown V. Board of Education, which ordered schools be integrated. Malone and Hood’s ambitions to go school at the Tuscaloosa campus in 1963 prompted a political cash of titans. “It was an iconic time,” says Dr. Culpepper Clark, author of the book The Stand in the School House Door.

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