WITF journalists honored with most PAPBA awards

Written by Tim Lambert, WITF Multimedia News Director | Jun 2, 2015 12:40 PM
PAPBA awards.jpg

Photo by Tim Lambert/WITF

WITF has been recognized with eight first-placehonors from the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association. The public media organization earned a total of 15 PAPBA honors for its reporting in 2014, including the Joe Snyder Award for Outstanding News Service.

(Gettysburg) -- A statewide broadcasting organization has honored WITF with 17 awards for excellence in broadcast journalism, the most in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association (PAPBA) recognized WITF's journalists with eight first-place and seven second-place honors as well as one third-place honor.

For the third time four years, the news department earned the prestigious Joe Snyder Award for Outstanding News Service.

WITF also swept all three awards in the Series category.

"It has been an extraordinary year for WITF's news team, and the results of the PAPBA awards recognize those achievements," WITF's President and CEO Kathleen Pavelko says. "The team dominated the state's media organizations, both in total awards and in first place awards.  What else to say but 'Kudos!'"

PAPBA groups WITF in the Medium Market Radio and Medium Market Television Categories.

In recent years, WITF launched major initiatives to focus on underreportered issues in Pennsylvania like Marcellus Shale drilling, the changing tide of healthcare and the challenges facing cities and communities across the state. PAPBA recognized the work of Marie Cusick on StateImpact Pennsylvania, Ben Allen on Transforming Health, Keira McGuire with Health Smart and Emily Previti with Keystone Crossroads with a combined eight honors.

The entire news department was recognized with a first-place award for its coverage of the 2014 gubernatorial race for governor, spearheaded by Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson, and honored with top honors for Best Regularly Newscast for its Election 2014 wrap-up, which aired November 5, 2014.

Smart Talk, WITF's public affairs program hosted by Scott LaMar, was recognized with two first-place honors and a second-place award for its coverage of sexual assaults on college campuses, the legalization of same sex marriage in Pennsylvania and whether law enforcement treats African-Americans differently.

"Quality, trust and dedication are the best words to describe the character of WITF's news team," says WITF's Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer Cara Williams Fry, who oversees the multimedia content team. "This team always works to bring the listener both the information they want to hear and the information they need to hear, but even more importantly they work as a cohesive and committed team."

WITF's Multimedia News Director Tim Lambert's moving story of a Pennsylvania man buried in the Normandy American Cemetery in France was honored with two first-place awards, while Arts and Culture reporter Joe Ulrich's unique story of poet who set up on a Lancaster street to create instant poems for people earned a second-place honor.

The winning entries:


1st place:

Smart Talk: Judge Jones and Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage in Pennsylvania -- Scott LaMar

Judges' comments: Insight behind a key decision

2nd place:

Smart Talk: Sexual assaults on college campuses -- Scott LaMar

Best Use of Sound:

1st place:

Grave 43: Remembering Pony -- Tim Lambert and Joe Ulrich

Judges' comments: A powerful story enhanced by the use of sound to make an emotional connection with the listener.

2nd place:

A Table, A Typewriter, A Way of Life -- Joe Ulrich

News or Sports Talk Program:

1st place:

Smart Talk: Does Law Enforcement Treat African-Americans Differently? -- Scott LaMar

Judges' comments: Smart Talk is an excellent forum with plenty of time for expanded discussion on important issues. Kudos to the host for allowing the guests room to be the shows stars. The program on police and the community was very good radio.

Best Regularly Scheduled Newscast:

1st place:

Election 2014 Wrap-Up -- WITF News Department

Judges' comments: Comprehensive and focused newscast that does an excellent job covering multiple angles of the election.  Top notch writing, delivery, and production.

Continuing Coverage:

1st place:

Election 2014: The Race for Governor -- WITF News Department

Judges' comments: A comprehensive look at the race for governor in Pennsylvania. This entry goes beyond the usual  sound bites to give us an in-depth look at the issues facing voters and how the candidates are addressing them or why they may prefer to talk about something else.

2nd place:

Keystone Crossroads:  The Future of York City Schools -- Emily Previti


1st place:

Keystone Crossroads: Pennsylvania Cities and Homeless Encampments -- Emily Previti

Judges' comments: A great deep dive.  Strong voices.  Multiple perspectives on an interesting topic.  Solid explanation of the issue.  Great context.

2nd place:

Transforming Health -- Ben Allen

3rd place:

StateImpact Pennsylvania's Turnpike Travels: Pennsylvania's Energy Future -- Marie Cusick


1st place:

Grave 43: Remembering Pony -- Tim Lambert and Joe Ulrich

Judges' comments: Terrific story told in a very moving way. The reporter takes the listener on an emotional trip to Ponys final resting place. I felt like I was there. Well done.

3rd place:

StateImpact Pennsylvania: The Future of PA's Coal Industry -- Marie Cusick

News Documentary:

2nd place:

HealthSmart: Caring for the Caregiver -- Keira McGuire, Mitch Mathias, Cara Williams Fry & Doug  Watson

Enterprise/Individual Reporting:

1st place:

StateImpact Pennsylvania: Taking Private Control of Public Land -- Marie Cusick

Judges' comments: Good use of natural sound, and 1st person interviews illuminate an issue affecting residents whose story may not have been heard otherwise.

2nd place:

Transforming Health: Rural Health Clinics -- Ben Allen

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