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Immigration Series Takes Honors for WBUR

BU’s NPR station wins in four categories at national PRNDI awards


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Click on the audio player to listen to WBUR’s piece on immigration.

WBUR, Boston University’s National Public Radio station, won first place in three categories and was named runner up in another at the Public Radio News Directors, Incorporated (PRNDI), awards banquet on July 19. No other NPR Division A station (stations with a news staff of five or more) won as many first-place awards.

Public Radio News Directors, Incorporated, is a nonprofit organization that encourages the professional development and training of public radio journalists. The PRNDI competition is the only national contest recognizing outstanding public radio news reporting at local stations.

“The stories that won the awards are examples of what is increasingly all too rare,” says Mark Degon, WBUR’s managing editor. “They give people a look at important community issues and thoroughly explain them. Hours and hours of thought and research and careful reporting went into the pieces, and they explain complicated issues in a way that is compelling.”

“Counting on Immigration,” a five-part series on immigration as an economic engine in Massachusetts, took top honors in the series category. The multipart program focused on the state’s record-setting population loss and whether the reality of a growing immigrant population is problematic or a crucial economic opportunity.

“The Underground Economy,” part three of the “Counting on Immigration” series, triumphed in the news feature category. Bianca Vazquez Toness reports on how the use of undocumented workers affects state revenue, the competition among companies, and workers’ wages.

“Dancer with a Difference,” reported by Andrea Shea, was the top prizewinner in the soft feature category. The story follows Boston-based dancer Lisa Bufano, who has no fingers or lower legs. Bufano recently performed her first modern dance piece in New York to rave reviews.

The commentary “A Witness to Violence ” won second place in the feature reporting category.

“We are very proud to be doing the kind of original work that PRNDI has recognized,” says Degon. “If you didn’t listen to this particular kind of piece here, where else would you have heard it?”

Following is a list of WBUR’s PRNDI award–winning pieces.

First Place
News Feature: “The Underground Economy,” reported by Bianca Vazquez Toness; edited by Anna Bensted; sound engineer, George Hicks.

Series: “Counting on Immigration,” reported by Bob Oakes, Bianca Vazquez Toness, Curt Nickisch, and Monica Brady-Myerov; produced by Anna Bensted, Sarah Bush, and George Hicks; edited by Anna Bensted; produced for the Web by Jesse Costa.

Soft Feature: “Dancer with a Difference,” reported by Andrea Shea; edited by Margaret Evans; sound engineer, Michael Garth.

Second Place
Commentary: “A Witness to Violence,” produced by Margaret Evans; sound engineer, Michael Garth.

Edward A. Brown can be reached at ebrown@bu.edu.

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