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WITF honored with six RTDNA Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

The public media organization has now earned 79

(Harrisburg) — WITF is honored to have been recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association with six Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

The Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence in broadcast and digital journalism are among the most prestigious awards in the industry. Since 1971, the Radio Television Digital News Association has used these awards to recognize news organizations that demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession.

“The regional RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Award recipients we announce today are doing an exemplary job of serving their communities by seeking and reporting the truth, raising issues that often serve as catalysts for positive change in their viewing and listening areas,” said Dan Shelley, RTDNA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. “I couldn’t be more proud of the high quality of responsible journalism as evidenced by these winners.”

The awards are presented to small and large radio, television and digital outlets based on 14 geographic areas. This year’s awards were selected from more than 5,000 entries. WITF competed against media organizations of similar size in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

“Reflecting the diversity and voices of our region is a critical role that our journalists play in bringing our community together. This year’s awards again recognize the outstanding work our team has done to report on stories that connect the civic and cultural fabric of Central Pennsylvania,” said WITF President and CEO Ron Hetrick. “I am proud that WITF is able to make a continued investment in journalism thanks to the generous support of listeners, corporations and foundations.”

Regional honorees are automatically considered for a National Murrow Award.

“Our team of journalists works incredibly hard each and every day to tell the story of Central Pennsylvania,” said WITF’s Multimedia News Director Tim Lambert. “I’m thrilled to see their efforts to keep our listeners well informed about issues impacting their communities recognized on a regional level.”

Here are the honorees:

Excellence in Innovation: 40 Years Later: Remembering Three Mile Island (WITF staff in collaboration with PennLive)

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island, WITF wanted to share the stories of the people it most affected. Central Pennsylvania is home to families who left and families who stayed, nuclear protesters and nuclear advocates, first responders, press, politicians and others who lived through the event. They all have a story to tell.

WITF reached out to our audiences on TV, radio and on social media for their memories—and hundreds of people responded. Their experiences live on as part of a virtual exhibit.

“I am proud to see WITF’s entire team recognized for its efforts to tell the story of the Three Mile Island accident 40 years later,” said WITF’s Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer Cara Williams Fry, who led the effort. “It’s a great example of what can be accomplished through teamwork and a great collaborative partner in PennLive.”

Excellence in Social Media: Three Mile Island: As It Happened (Lisa Wardle)

As part of WITF’s coverage of the 40th anniversary of the Three Mile Island accident, WITF’s Digital Manager Lisa Wardle produced a “live” Twitter thread following the historic accident as it unfolded, consisting of 51 tweets over 6 days. We wanted our audience to experience what it felt like to live through the fear and uncertainty after the accident, and this platform allowed us the ability to explore that idea without disrupting our daily news coverage.

Podcast: Three Mile Island: As It Happened (WITF’s Tim Lambert and Mitch Mathias in collaboration with PennLive reporter John Luciew)

The three-part podcast “Three Mile Island: As It Happened” takes listeners through the chaos and confusion as the nation’s worst nuclear accident unfolded in 1979. Host Tim Lambert guides you through the first few days of the crisis, almost moment-by-moment. This was produced as part of our coverage of the 40th anniversary of the partial meltdown at TMI.


Documentary: I Remember TMI (Michael Williams, Scott Blanchard and Joe Ulrich)

In this special StateImpact Pennsylvania oral history presentation produced by WITF, seven residents bring you inside their stories of uncertainty, confusion, fear and the decision they faced: stay home amid risk of radiation, or flee.

“TMI is part of American history and culture, but what gets lost sometimes are the stories of all the people who lived through the partial meltdown,” said StateImpact Pennsylvania Editor Scott Blanchard. “We wanted listeners to experience the real fear and uncertainty those people felt, when it wasn’t clear what exactly was happening and people had to make potentially life-altering decisions on whether to wait it out or get away from the area.”

Hard News: Praying for Involuntary Commitment (Brett Sholtis)

When Kim Stringer was a teenager, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Now 27 years old, she sleeps in a shed and searches dumpsters for food. Her parents want her to be involuntarily committed so she can be treated for mental illness — but Stringer doesn’t want that treatment, and she isn’t required to get it. Transforming Health reporter Brett Sholtis detailed how she and her family are at a crossroads.

Excellence in Writing: Falcons Take Flight in Downtown Harrisburg (Katie Meyer)

In the busiest part of downtown Harrisburg, the Rachel Carson State Office Building stands tall. The structure is named after the famous environmentalist and is home to the commonwealth’s Department of Environmental Protection. It’s also home to some famous falcons. WITF’s Katie Meyer looked at how Carson herself would probably be thrilled to know the birds are still around.

Pennsylvania organizations KDKA-TV, KYW Newsradio, WGAL-TV, WHYY, WPXN and WTAE-TV also received Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Since 2006, WITF has received 79 RTDNA Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards — the most of any media organization in Pennsylvania. In the last eight years, WITF has garnered 67 Regional Murrow Awards — which puts WITF among the top stations in the country in markets 51 and smaller. Additionally, it’s been awarded 15 National Edward R. Murrow Awards since 2007.

The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow’s pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession.

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