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WBUR Website Earns Murrow Award

Second national win in a row for BU’s NPR station

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The Radio Television Digital News Association has named WBUR’s website the nation’s best.

Boston University’s NPR affiliate, WBUR, has won the 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award for the best large market radio website in the country, the Radio Television Digital News Association has announced. The annual RTDNA awards honor excellence in electronic journalism.

WBUR general manager Charles Kravetz, who took over the reins at the public radio station six months ago, says he’s delighted.

“This award is a recognition of the exceptional work of many people at WBUR who contribute every day to the success of WBUR.org,” he says. “It is truly a stationwide effort.”

A key figure in that effort has been John Davidow, executive editor for new media. He has spent the past two years rebuilding the site, converting the station’s static web presence into a dynamic, independent content-generating entity. The site offers live-streaming content, of course, and program podcasts, along with extras such as Tom Ashbrook on books and notable BU lectures and discussions. “Prior to 2009 we were more of a brochure site, highlighting only a few news stories at a time,” says Davidow. “Most of the site was dedicated to daily show highlights.”

The guiding editorial principle, Davidow says, has been to replicate the experience of what a solid hour of local NPR coverage sounds like on WBUR, including the continuation and enhancement of listener conversations through social media outlets. Since the redesign last year, monthly unique visits to the site have doubled to half a million, with two million page views.

To remain dynamic and relevant, Davidow hired a full-time online reporter and added blogs, one focused on Boston happenings and the other on health care. Both are updated several times daily. Additionally, the station developed a mobile phone app, which offers its own interactive features. He is also heading up Order in the Court 2.0, a pilot program to establish digital tools for increasing public access to the courts, thanks to a $260,000 Knight News Challenge Award and a partnership with the Massachusetts court system.

Last fall, WBUR, whose license is held by Boston University, added to its collection of national reporting honors the Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in large-market radio, the first of its back-to-back Murrow wins.

“It’s really gratifying to be recognized,” Davidow says. “But on a larger scale, it’s a reflection of all the great content that’s produced by WBUR. In many ways, we’re just the platform that delivers this great content and that’s finding new and better ways of reaching our audience where they are. We’re facilitating and enriching the experience of our audience and reaching new audiences.”

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at cdanilof@bu.edu.

1 Comments

One Comment on WBUR Website Earns Murrow Award

  • Heaviest Cat on 06.20.2011 at 3:50 pm

    Award of 'BUR?

    I don’t know why BUR got this ER Murrow award. Giveen BUR’s and NPR’s pro-corporate pro Pentagon biases , he’s probably rolling over in his grave atthis insult to his legacy of critical journalism.

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