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WITF earns 2 RTDNA Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

WITF has been recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association with two 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.

“Journalism is a challenging field these days, but our team is dedicated to serving the community,” said WITF’s Multimedia News Director Tim Lambert. “Each honored story highlights the unique work we try to provide to our listeners and readers. I’m proud of their day in and day out efforts and thrilled to see it recognized with two Regional Murrows.”

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

“We’re grateful to have our work honored by RTDNA – this year and over many years,” said Scott Blanchard, WITF’s director of journalism. “Our journalists are challenged as never before with ongoing stories like COVID-19 and the threat to American democracy. They’re doing an incredible job for listeners and readers across central Pennsylvania.”

Regional honorees are automatically considered for a National Murrow Award.

Pennsylvania organizations KYW Newsradio, NBC 10 Philadelphia, WESA, WHYY, WXPN also received Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Since 2006, WITF has received 87 RTDNA regional Murrows — the most of any organization in Pennsylvania. In the last 10 years, WITF has garnered 74, which puts the organization among the top stations in the country in markets 51 and smaller. Additionally, it’s been awarded 17 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.

Here are the honorees: 

Investigative Reporting

Police, Constables in PA Joined ‘Anti-Government’ Oath Keepers (WITF)

Brett Sholtis led WITF’s investigation into the Oath Keepers and was assisted by Julia Agos, Scott Blanchard, Sam Dunklau, Tim Lambert, Gabriela Martinez, Rachel McDevitt and Anthony Orozco.

The story came about after the Oath Keepers’ registration data was made public by the nonprofit whistleblower site for news leaks, Distributed Denial of Secrets. On Sept. 27, 2021, the group uploaded to its website a cache of data it said was linked to the Oath Keepers. Some data was available to the general public. Credentialed media could request the full data set. WITF played no role in how Distributed Denial of Secrets obtained the data, but WITF requested the Pennsylvania data from the group.

WITF divided the names in the database among eight staffers who used internet, social media and public records databases to search for each name, and recorded search results that showed a person could be in law enforcement or public office.

Sholtis then emailed and called those people to confirm their identity and their Oath Keepers membership, and to talk with them about why they joined, what they got out of it, how they responded to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and how they reconciled their membership in the group with their public position of authority and trust.

Excellence in Sound

WITF Music: All Without Words (Joe Ulrich)

Joe Ulrich told the story of Loren Morell, 16, who has autism and doesn’t speak.

However, Loren is not silent and his father, Justin, recorded an album All Without Words.

The album is a collaboration between Morell and his good friend, trumpeter John Daversa. Morell describes the piece not as an attempt to speak for Loren, but rather a collection of the struggles and joys of raising a child with non-verbal autism.

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