WBUR Wins Three Top Public Radio News Directors Awards

Contact: Colin Riley, 617-353-2240 | criley@bu.edu

(Boston) – WBUR, 90.9 FM, Boston’s NPR news station, garnered three Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI) “firsts,” the most wins among National Public Radio Division A stations across the country, plus one runner-up prize, announced John Davidow, WBUR news director.

The awards, recognizing broadcasts during 2007, were presented at the PRNDI’s 23rd annual meeting and awards banquet on July 19 in Washington, D.C. The PRNDI Awards competition is the only national contest recognizing outstanding public radio news reporting at local stations.

“Counting on Immigration,” a five-part series on immigration as an economic engine in the commonwealth, took top honors in the “Series” category. Co-produced by Anna Bensted, Sarah Bush and George Hicks, the multi-part program focused attention on the record-setting population loss in the state and whether the reality of a growing immigrant population was problematic or a crucial economic opportunity. Reporters included Bob Oakes, Bianca Vazquez Tonness, Curt Nickisch and Monica Brady-Myerov. Bensted served as editor, while Jesse Costa was web producer.

“The Underground Economy,” part three of the “Counting on Immigration” series, triumphed in the “News Feature” category. Bianca Vazquez Toness reported on how the use of undocumented workers affects state revenue, the competition among companies, and workers’ wages. Anna Bensted edited the piece and George Hicks was engineer.

“Dancer with a Difference,” prevailed in the “Soft Feature” category. Arts & Culture Reporter Andrea Shea’s story on a dancer without fingers or lower legs challenged the definition of physical perfection on stage. Edited by Margaret Evans, with Michael Garth serving as sound engineer, the segment rounds-out the trio of WBUR’s “golds.”

Within the “Commentary” category, “A Witness to Violence,” captured second place. A recent homicide spike in Boston resurrected a young woman’s memory of witnessing two men being shot to death 22 years ago in a North End alley. She spoke to the police then; would she do the same today? Margaret Evans produced the piece and Michael Garth was engineer.

PRNDI is a non-profit, national service organization that encourages the professional development and training of public radio journalists.

One of New England’s leading sources of news and information, WBUR is owned and operated by Boston University and is a member of National Public Radio. WBUR also broadcasts a selection of BBC programs and locally produced programs such as “Here & Now,” “Only a Game,” “On Point,” and “Car Talk.” WBUR has won more than 100 major awards for its news coverage, including several George Foster Peabody Awards, the Associated Press News Station of the year for 2003-05, and three prestigious Edward R. Murrow Awards in the 2007 Radio-Television News Director Association’s (RTNDA) annual national electronic journalism competition.