WBUR Announces 2013 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize Winner

Becky Vevea of NPR member station WBEZ, Chicago to be honored Nov. 7 at WBUR Gala

For Immediate Release: October 18, 2013

Media Contacts:
WBUR — Kristen Holgerson, 617.358.2011, cell 617.771.5539, kholgers@wbur.org
Boston University – Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626, cell 617-293-4082, rtaffe@bu.edu

(Boston)— Boston’s NPR news station, 90.9 WBUR, has announced reporter Becky Vevea of Chicago NPR member station WBEZ as the winner of the 2013 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. Now in its 12th year, the prize is named for the respected NPR senior news analyst and veteran Washington journalist Daniel Schorr, who died in 2010.

The $5,000 Schorr Prize — sponsored by WBUR and Boston University, and funded by Jim and Nancy Bildner — salutes a new generation of public radio journalists 35 years old and under, seeking to inspire them to stretch the boundaries of the medium. This year a record number of entries were received, with over 40 submissions.

Vevea’s winning series, “Chicago School Closings: Stories Beyond the Headlines” followed Chicago’s plan to close a record number of public schools in one year. WBEZ’s education reporting team took the lead on coverage and quickly became a go-to source nationally for information on the story.

Vevea’s coverage broadened the conversation around closing the schools, and it added a human voice to what was largely a top-down decision made by politicians and bureaucratic members of the fledgling urban school district. “My intent for these stories was to give context to a debate that quickly became about Chicago politics,” she said. “I hope it encouraged people to think about the bigger picture beyond City Hall and the long-term implications of this issue.”

Vevea will be honored at the 12th Annual WBUR Gala on Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay. An annual benefit for the public radio station, the gala is expected to raise more than $500,000 in support for independent news and programming.

“I am extremely honored to have been selected from so many talented young radio journalists to win The Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize, and it is a huge step in my career,” said Vevea.

“Becky Vevea’s coverage of the agonizing effects of shuttering more than 50 Chicago public schools was incisive and poignant, capturing with authority and sensitivity the emotional and public policy effects of the school closing crisis,” said Schorr judge Bill Marimow, most recently editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Now, as a producer for WBEZ, Chicago’s member station, Vevea still primarily focuses on education for WBEZ’s local shows, Morning Shift and Afternoon Shift. She has contributed radio reports to WBUR’s Here & Now, Marketplace, NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered and her work has appeared in The New York Times and USA Today. She was part of the reporting team that won a first place 2013 PRNDI Award (Public Radio News Directors Inc.) in “Breaking News” from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. for coverage of the Chicago teachers’ strike. She also received an award from the Education Writers Association in 2010 for contributing work to an eight-week series on teacher quality in Wisconsin for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Recent past recipients of the Schorr Prize include KUNC reporter Grace Hood (2012); NPR host David Greene (2011); Ailsa Chang, who is now a reporter for NPR (2010); reporter Chana Joffe-Walt, who covers global economics for NPR’s multimedia project “Planet Money” (2009); former NPR defense correspondent Guy Raz, who is now the host of the “TED Radio Hour” (2008); and NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan (2007).

Public radio journalists from around the world competed for this prestigious recognition. Schorr had often said he was honored to have this prize bear his name, as he believed strongly in supporting talented journalists as they rose through the ranks of the broadcast industry, and particularly those who found a calling in public radio.

This year’s distinguished panel of Schorr Prize judges, in addition to Marimow, included:
• Dan Grech of Marketplace, The Miami Herald, and WLRN
• Julia McEvoy, Senior News Editor, KQED
• Manny Paraschos, Professor and former Graduate Program Director of the Department of Journalism at Emerson College
• BJ Roche, Senior Lecturer for the Department of Journalism at UMass Amherst
• Jeb Sharp, Producer on PRI’s The World

Listen to Vevea’s award-winning entry,“Chicago School Closings: Stories Beyond the Headlines.”online here

About WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station
90.9 WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, is the home of nationally distributed programs, On Point, Here & Now, Only A Game and Car Talk. WBUR also produces Radio Boston, a daily local news program. In addition, the award-winning WBUR Newsroom reports extensively on local stories with content that is broadcast hourly, embedded in national NPR content such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and shared on the station’s website, wbur.org, a Murrow Award-winner for best radio website in America. More at www.wbur.org.

About Boston University
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 16 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission. In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.


(Editors: photo of Becky Vevea available on request)