WBUR Wins Corporation For Public Broadcasting National Community Impact Award

in News Releases, WBUR
April 29th, 2009

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

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – WBUR, 90.9 FM, Boston’s NPR news station, earned a My Source Community Impact Award for Engagement from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) for its three-year coverage of the Massachusetts Health Care Reform law, announced Pat Harrison, president and CEO of CPB.

The My Source Community Impact Awards for Engagement were created by CPB to give well-deserved recognition to stations for their commitment and responsiveness to their communities, providing innovative on-air, online, and in-person services that deliver measurable results.

The 2006 enactment of precedent-setting legislation that mandated health insurance coverage for every Massachusetts resident spurred WBUR to engage in continuous reporting on the new law and its impact, particularly on the uninsured. Additionally, the station produced a special series, a documentary entitled “The Doctor Can’t See You Now,” plus four, statewide call-in programs featuring the law’s architects and administrators.

WBUR’s initiative was spearheaded by healthcare reporter Martha Bebinger, who augmented her reporting by launching a website and blog entitled “CommonHealth” that included posts from the key, diverse stakeholders critical to the understanding of the law.

“We’re very pleased that we’ve been recognized for our response to the need for a broad, ongoing conversation about the pitfalls and challenges of this historic legislation,” said Anna Bensted, WBUR assistant program director. “The station undertook such an intense commitment to this issue because of its historic nature and the law’s significant impact on the commonwealth’s residents. We believe that listeners not only received what they need to know from the policy perspective to the practical implications on their own lives, but they also continue to have opportunities to air their concerns and have their questions answered.”

WBUR is the only broadcast outlet tracking and reporting in depth on the roll-out of mandatory health insurance coverage in Massachusetts.

“From the economy to the environment, from health concerns to arts education, public broadcasting stations are a trusted source of information and engagement for all Americans,” said Harrison. “CPB congratulates WBUR for its outstanding work.”

WBUR’s project will be recognized at the Public Radio Development and Marketing Conference on July 8 in San Diego.

About WBUR:
One of New England’s leading sources of news and information, WBUR, 90.9 FM, 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.

About CPB:
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,100 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television, and related online services.

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