The Radio Television Digital News Association today named Alabama Public Radio the winner of five Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. APR won for Overall Excellence, Best Series, Best Soft Feature, Best Use of Sound, and Best Documentary. All but one of the winning entries came from the newsroom’s yearlong coverage of the 50th anniversary of key moments in the fight for civil rights in Alabama. The Overall Excellence entry included Ryan Vasquez’ story on how the media in the 1960’s failed to cover the civil rights movement, and Stan Ingold’s feature on how the locations like the Edmund Pettus Bridge are now tourist attractions. A newscast by APR’s Jeremy Loeb rounded out the winning entry.
“Everyone in the newsroom really worked hard on our civil rights coverage,” says News Director Pat Duggins. “It’s always very flattering to have our efforts generously recognized this way, and we’re all very grateful for it.”
APR was also recognized for Best Documentary for “Civil Rights Radio.” Duggins produced and hosted this program which was about the so called “children’s march.” That’s where African-American teenagers in Birmingham staged their own desegregation rally in 1963, only to be met with fire hoses and police dogs. Local radio disc jockey Shelley “The Playboy” Stewart put code words into his broadcasts, so the young demonstrators knew when to leave class and join the march.
“With media in a state of constant change, APR is committed to providing the best possible local and regional news service to a statewide audience,” says Elizabeth Brock, Director of the Center for Public Television and Radio at the University of Alabama. “It’s an honor to have our work recognized, and a tribute to the support of our listeners and the University of Alabama.”
These regional awards are nominations for National Murrow Awards, which are scheduled to be announced in July.