Berson honored for contribution to community radio, and other awards in public media

By Sean Meehan and Theodore Fischer

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF COMMUNITY BROADCASTERS

Ginny Berson received the Michael Bader Award honoring lifetime achievements in community radio.  

Berson who retired last year as NFCB v.p., worked for 30 years in community radio, half of those with the federation. A former radio producer who founded a record label and concert production company, Berson also worked as a program director for KPFA in Berkeley.

“She had a lot of impact,” said Sally Kane, a former station g.m. who is NFCB’s chief executive. “She is very much revered by leaders of stations across the country for her devotion to them.”

During her 15 years at NFCB, Berson worked to establish the National Youth in Radio Training Project, the Latino Public Radio Consortium Board and the Rural Audience Research Project. She also provided resources and assistance to leaders of community radio stations, which is how Kane first worked with her.

“To have these people who have been part of community radio for many years and who understand the scope of all the issues, you can’t even put a price on it,” Kane said. “There’s no way I would ever have been a successful g.m. if it wasn’t for her, and there’s a number of managers who would say the same.”

NFCB presents the Bader Award annually to individuals or groups in recognition of “a single stunning innovation or a lifetime of vital contributions to community radio.” Named for Michael Bader, an attorney who worked tenaciously to help community radio stations get on and stay on the air, the award honors individuals or groups whose work advanced the “vision and values of community radio,” according to NFCB’s announcement.

NFCB presented the award during last month’s Community Broadcasters conference in Reston, Va.

SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS

North Country Public Radio, WBUR leads pubradio broadcasters in the 2013 Sigma Delta Chi awards for excellence in journalism.

NCPR in Canton, N.Y., earned a pair of awards in the competition among radio stations in markets 101 and smaller, and Boston’s WBUR won in two digital reporting categories.

NCPR took the prize for investigative journalism with “From Birth to Death Behind Bars” by Natasha Haverty and Brian Mann. The trophy for public service reporting went to “Rail Freight Danger: Lac-Megantic to New York State,” by Mann and David Sommerstein.

Two additional small-market pubradio stations rose to the top of this division:  KUNC in Greeley, Colo., winning for breaking-news coverage in “Flooding Wreaks Havoc in Colorado”; and WKMS in Murray, Ky., taking the documentary prize with “Kentucky Dam: Power for the People,” by Todd Hatton and Chad Lampe.

Several public radio outlets bested the competition in the division for stations in the top 100 markets and nationally syndicated coverage:

KGOU, KOSU, StateImpact Oklahoma and Oklahoma Public Media Exchange won for breaking-news reporting for their coverage of the Moore, Okla., tornado.

Oregon Public Broadcasting, for investigative reporting in “With No Officers to Respond to 911 Calls, Josephine County Considers Tax Levy,” by Amelia Templeton, Eve Epstein and Michael Clapp.

Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, Calif., for best documentary for “The View From Here: Autism Grows Up,” by Paul Conley, Catherine Stifter, Pauline Bartolone, Ben Adler, Julia Mitric, Andrew Nixon, Alan Ray and Joe Barr.

WFPL News in Louisville, Ky., for public service for “The Black Carbon Series” by Erica Peterson.

In the online reporting division, WBUR took digital audio honors for “WBUR’s Commonhealth Podcast,” by Carey Goldberg, Rachel Zimmerman and George Hicks; it also won for audio slide show with “Boston Marathon Bombing: In Their Own Words,” by Lisa Tobin and Forrest Marvez. NPR was cited for specialized journalism with “Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt,” by Planet Money and NPR Visuals.

The Center for Public Integrity dominated the online division of SPJ’s national competition by taking trophies in three categories. It won for affiliated investigative reporting with ABC News in “Out of Breath: The Untold Story of Big Money, Black Lung and Doctors for the Coal Companies,” by Matt Mosk, Chris Hamby, Lee Ferran and Brian Ross; for independent investigative reporting in “Civil rights group’s FCC positions reflect industry funding, critics say,” by Jason McLure and John Dunbar; and for independent non-deadline reporting in “After the Meltdown,” by Alison Fitzgerald, Daniel Wagner, Lauren Kyger and John Dunbar.

The staff of the Texas Tribune shared a Sigma Delta Chi award for independent deadline reporting with “Texas Tribune: Abortion Filibuster.”

Sigma Delta Chi award winners were honored June 20 during an awards banquet at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY S.I. NEWHOUSE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS

WNYC’s On the Media earns Mirror Award for best broadcast story.

“The Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook,” a segment advising media consumers on how to decipher the barrage of often-faulty information reported in breaking-news coverage, won a Mirror Award honoring excellence in reporting on media. Managing editor Brooke Gladstone and producers Alex Goldman, Katya Rogers, PJ Vogt, Chris Neary and Sarah Abdurrahman were cited for their work on the segment, which was produced after the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C., last fall. Since its initial airing, the segment has been widely shared online during several breaking-news events.

SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS, INDIANA CHAPTER

Indiana Public Media leads pubcasters in Best in Indiana Journalism contest.

Nine of 18 first-place awards for pubcasters went to Indiana Public Media’s stations WFIU and WTIU-TV, both owned by Indiana University in Bloomington. Two other stations, WFYI in Indianapolis and WBST in Muncie, each brought home three prizes.

WFIU’s coverage of tornadoes in southern Indiana earned two first-place spots: one for breaking-news coverage by Kyle Stokes and another for radio public affairs reporting. Stokes and Elle Moxley shared recognition for best online multimedia package with their reporting on Indiana’s Common Core education standards. First-place trophies for news reporting went to Amanda Solliday and Rachel Morello, while Sehvilla Mann won for feature reporting. The WFIU newsroom also took top prize for continuing coverage of glitches in the state’s online standardized testing system.

WTIU-TV, which competed in the division for TV stations outside of Indianapolis, brought in two additional awards for IPM, taking first place in the categories for features videography and feature story.

Volunteer lineman

A WFYI program about linemen who worked as volunteers to bring electricity to villages in Guatemala won top two awards in Indiana’s SPJ contest.

WFYI won three awards for television coverage in Indianapolis. Two trophies went to “Power to the People,” a program about linemen working as volunteers to bring electricity to villages in Guatemala; it won the prize for best documentary and took first place for features videography. Jim Simmons and Diane Willis co-produced the program, and it was filmed by Christopher Elberfeld and Vincent Manganello. Another report on the closure of a costume shop after over 100 years in business won for best feature story.

Awards for radio reporting also went to WBST, which won in three categories: For best newscast, feature reporting by Jason Puhr; and a documentary special by John Strauss on the Knightstown Railroad closing.

Two additional public radio stations picked up first place awards: Chicago’s WBEZ, for sports reporting; WYIN in Merrillville, Ind., for in-depth reporting. Student-operated WSWI, licensed to Southern Indiana University, won for best newscast.

  • Maxie Jackson

    Ginny Z. Berson worked tirelessly and selflessly on behalf of community radio. I am honored to have worked with her and gotten to know her as a dear friend. She is most deserving of the Bader Award.

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